The Best of Contemporary Portraits at the BP Portrait Award
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Among the most prestigious competitions dedicated to contemporary portrait painting in the world, the BP Portrait Award represents a privileged look at the evolution of a genre that never wanes. In the halls of the National Portrait Gallery, which hosts masterpieces from throughout the ages in its permanent collection, are the 50 paintings selected for the finals of the competition out of 2600 works from 88 countries. Close-up, the winners of the five prizes at stake, starting with An Angel at my Table, with which the artist from Catalan Miriam Escofet was awarded top prize. The protagonist of the painting is an elderly lady in white (the mother of the painter) in front of her tea service. Among the reflections of the porcelain, the folds of her shirt and surprisingly realistic face in a fleeting moment of quiet intimacy. Also on the podium, the original composition by Felicia Forte (Time Traveller, Matthew Napping) and the cross of artistic cultures (Chinese, Italian and American) palpable in the child’s portrait Simone by Chinese painter Tongyao Zhu, not to mention the winning works of the Young Artist Award (Portrait of Two Female Artists by Anja Hobson) and of the Travel Award (David by Robert Seidel). All of these and more in a stimulating itinerary comprised of various styles, motifs and talents, all connected to the contemporary portrait, moving from expressionistic brushstrokes to surrealistic touches, references to current affairs and stunning reinterpretations of classics from this long and luminous tradition.