(oil on canvas, 1220 x 900 mm)
copyright the artist / photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I challenge the fixed notion of an idealised image of childhood and substitute it for a more unsettling, complex, representation that exists in its own right as a painting.He developed the painting after taking a series of photographs of his daughter playing in woods in Brittany. The trees altered the light and the colour of her skin. The portrait works on two levels. It's both a record of his daughter on that day. At the same time it explores the concept of the child who is a changeling - a creature who in western folklore is really the offspring of fairies or elves and who has secretly been left in the place of a human child.
It's also one of those paintings which I found I liked a lot more when face to face with it than I did when I saw it as a photograph. The skin tones are really weird and fascinating at the same time - and I know Peter won't mind me saying that! It's also a fine example of somebody using photographs as a reference but without creating a photorealistic painting - which to my mind is to be applauded. I'm all for the art of painting!
Art historian and critic, Charlotte Mullins told me that the portrait breezed through the first two rounds without any problem but that it wasn't until the judges had got the 1,901 entries down to the final 100 that they began to realise the true quality of this portrait. Their choice of Changeling 2 for first prize was unanimous - which I gather is unusual.
It's incredibly bewitching and beguilingI chatted to Peter Monkman (45) shortly before the prize-giving and we agreed that the really nice thing about the BP Portrait Awards is that all the artists who are invited know that they have won something! He's currently the Director of Art at Charterhouse School in Surrey and was telling me that the whole school was waiting to hear what he'd won so I can imagine what he must have been feeling like! (Well done to Charterhouse for their very fast update of their website!). His wife was texting all their family, friends and the school straight after the prizegiving ceremony. She told me they'd made it very easy for her by telling her to just text 1,2 or 3!
Charlotte Mullins, Judge - BP Portrait Award 2009
It's particularly nice to see another artist aged over 40 win the Award, following the change in the rules three years ago. Now aged 45, he'd had to give up entering the Award when he got to 40. Peter has previously had work included in the BP Portrait Exhibition in 1999, 2001, and 2003 - and it just goes to prove you should never give up!
Second Prize (£8,000): My tip for the prize Michael Gaskell must be a very disappointed man as this is the second time he's come second - both times to a first prizewinner who had been shortlisted for the first time. Nevertheless one of the judges told me that in another year his very beautiful portrait in egg tempera of his son Tom aged 17 would have won.
He was at the period in adolescence between boy and manhood and fleetingly suspended between both.I'm absolutely sure that Gaskell will win this prize at some point in the future as his portrait is exquisite - it's cetainly a contemporary equivalent of a Holbein or a Van Eyck. He won 2nd prize in 2003 and was commended in both 2001 and 1999.
In spirit my painting owes most to Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man which is its primary inspiration and a painting I’ve always loved. The pose itself is more reminiscent of a number of portraits by Holbein, an artist I greatly admire.
(Right) Third Prize - Annalisa Avancini (b.1973 ) for Manuel (oil on board, 1000 x 800)
artwork copyright the artists / photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The BP Young Artist Award for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30 (£5,000): Mark Jameson
(oil and acrylic on canvas, 1220 x 762 mm)
copyright the artist / photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Mark Jameson, 29, comes from County Durham and graduated from Sunderland University with a degree in Fine Art in 2003.
He painted his award winning portrait of his sister, Lyndsey at his parent's house in less than a month.
It was my intention to capture aspects of the subject’s persona, but also to convey this in a modern and relevant way. That said the acrid colours and an informal composition contribute to an accessible and honest account. This piece is not to my mind entirely finished. I hope that perhaps its technical shortcomings are in keeping with the character of the piece.Jameson hopes to be able to become a full time artist in the future and is available for commissions.
Exhibition - Exhibitions for The BP Portrait Award 2009 and Travel Award 2008 can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery, London
The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow - 18th June - and continues until 20th September 2009, after which it will tour the UK. Admission is free.
I'm going back this morning to view it again minus all the people at last night's awards ceremony! On first viewing, it's looking very impressive and has a greater range of pieces in both size and approach than in recent years. I liked it a lot and I'm looking forward to being able to see all the portraits again.
Come back tomorrow to read my review of the exhibition and on Friday to read about the Travel exhibition - and who won the Travel Prize this year.
BP Portrait Award - The aim of the Portrait Award is to encourage artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work. It is now in its 30th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 20th year of sponsorship by BP. The BP Portrait Award is both a very prestigious and highly successful annual event which attarcts entries from all over the world. This year artists from 53 countries sent in entries.
The competition was judged from original paintings by this year’s panel;
- James Holloway, Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
- Charlotte Mullins, art historian and critic
- Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair)
- Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP
- Gillian Wearing, artist
I'd just like to highlight what a pleasure it was listen to Sebastien Faulks' speech last night. I do hope they manage to get hold of it and to post it to the NPG website as it said some very cogent things about portraiture. I jotted down a few of them....but would now like the words which join them together!
the depiction of human beings is a primitive thing that artists have always doneLinks
it's a unique faculty of human consciousness
sense of self-awareness and awareness of the other
some people's faces never betray what's going on behind them
I dislike portraits which are anthropological and I love portraits where there is an engagement between the artist and the sitter
- BP Portrait Award 2009 18th June and 20th September 2009
- National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm)
- BP Portrait Award this one covers the changes in the rules and age categories which occurred in 2007 (February 2007)
- View the BP Portrait Award 2007 and BP Travel Award 2006 exhibitions (June 2007)
- Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award (22 June 2007)
- BP Portrait Award 2008 (call for entries) and BP Travel Award (December 2007)
- BP Portrait Award shortlist announced - a woman will win! (April 2008)
- BP Portrait Award 2008 (call for entries) and BP Travel Award (December 07)
- BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens (June 08)
- P Travel Award: Gareth Reid and the Finnish winter bathers (June 08)
- Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008 (June 08)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries (December 2008)
- BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected (May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist (May 2009)
- Portraiture - Resources for Artists This site has links to all the pages on the NPG website which relate to past years of the BP Portrait Award