BP Portrait Award 2014 @ the National Portrait Gallery

The annual BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. 2,377 paintings, a few sculptures and videos were entered, 55 were selected to go on show, including the prize winners, £30,000 for first prize, £10,000 second, £8,000 third. Most of the entries are oil paintings, with the notable exception of Marc Quinn’s sculpture of his own head made in blood, and a video of David Beckham sleeping. Sweet.

The standard struck me as low. A number of the portraits of famous people, where you could compare against life, were dire; many very average. I’d estimate between 10 and 20 were memorable or valid. The winners are:

I really liked the Simon Armitage portrait, and quite liked the others.:

It is striking how many of the paintings – which looked crude and amateurish and unfinished when seen in the flesh, 4 or 5 or 6 feet tall, hanging on a wall – look vastly better when reduced to one-inch-square photos in magazines or online.

Related links

More National Portrait Gallery reviews

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