BP Portrait Award Is Back - But It's Much The Same

BP Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery ★★☆☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 7 months ago

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BP Portrait Award Is Back - But It's Much The Same BP Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery 2
A 'double portrait' of the artist's wife who was eight months pregnant at the time. Copyright: Thomas Ehretsmann

The BP Portrait Award is a stalwart in the art calendar. This free exhibition brings together portrait painters from across the world to compete for the top prizes.

This year there were over 2,500 entries from across 87 countries, which have been whittled down to the 53 on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

This painting of a breastfeeding mother, the artist's wife, was the overall winner. Copyright: Benjamin Sullivan

While the painting quality of the entries is always to a high standard, the prize itself is quite staid. We've suggested how it can be improved, but this year is more of the same.  

There are some exceptions, including one entry where the background is reflective, thus making the subject of the portrait into one of the crowd of gallery-goers.

Vulnerability and determination meet in the third prize winner. Copyright Antony Williams.

But on the whole it's all very same-y and not much stands out in this year's prize.

BP Portrait Award 2017 is on at National Portrait Gallery until 24 September. Entrance is free.

Last Updated 03 July 2017