The 2012 BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcases over 55 portraits from 2,187 worldwide entries.
Now in its 33 year, the competition rewards the talented chosen ones with a substantial prize fund, but the free exhibition also provides a vital platform for the lucky selected artist’s work. The display is seen by thousands ranging from tourists to art enthusiasts during its three month run at one of London’s busiest galleries.
2012′s £25,000 first prize is awarded to 26 year old Aleah Chapin for her large scale nude portrait Auntie. The painting is part of a series of portraits by the US artist depicting women she has known all her life. The mature theme continues with the second place prize of £8,000 being awarded to Ignacio Estudillo for El abeulo (Agustin Estudillo), a portrait of his paternal grandfather. The subject similarity between the two winners is obvious however the paintings could not be further apart, their contrasting colours and brightness capture two very different moods.
Third prize of £6,000 was given to Alan Coulson for Richie Culver a clear, sharp painting that is definitely the most photographic of the three. Painting his fellow artist and friend Coulson worked to create a piece that pointed to his subjects true character as well as underlining his prominent style.
The free exhibition for the BP Portrait Award is open until the 23rd of September at the National Portrait Gallery, London.