Thursday 21 September 2017

Portrait winner is latest of 17

Distracted by Wim Heldens has won the BP Portrait Award
Distracted by Wim Heldens has won the BP Portrait Award

An artist who has been painting one of his sitters for almost 20 years has won this year's £25,000 BP Portrait Award.

Wim Heldens, 57, began painting Jeroen when he was seven years old and has pictured him on 17 occasions in his life.

His winning portrait, entitled Distracted, captures the philosophy student at the age of 25.

Heldens, from Amsterdam, said of the sitter: "I have been fascinated with painting Jeroen in all stages of life through growing up. Now he is an intelligent and sensitive young man."

Second prize in the annual National Portrait Gallery award went to Louis Smith, 41, from Manchester, for his eight-foot portrait of a near-naked model handcuffed to a rock in a cave.

Ian Cumberland, 28, from County Down, Northern Ireland, took third prize for his portrait of a friend, entitled Just To Feel Normal.

The young artist award went to Sertan Saltan, also 28, who lives in New York, for her image of a woman in hair rollers and latex gloves glancing "menacingly" at the artist while sharpening a large knife.

National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne said: "Wim Heldens has offered a quiet but evocative study as the winning BP portrait. It is an outstanding work in the midst of a truly diverse field of new portraits."

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