Portait of an artist
West Country artist Paul Emsley brings an award-winning portrait to Bath in June, prior to its move to a new owner overseas.
Bradford-on-Avon based artist Emsley was the winner of the 2007 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, with his picture of artist Michael Simpson.
His prize was £25,000 and a £4,000 portrait commission.
From its inception in 1990, the BP award was given to artists aged 18-40 to demonstrate innovative directions within what had become, for some, a tired traditional genre.
In 2007, for the first time, the National Portrait Gallery decided to withdraw the upper age restrictions, with the result that a third of the record 1,870 entries, and 25% of the finalists, were over 40. Paul Emsley is 59.
Paul Emsley said of his sitter: "I see his face like a map of Eastern Europe, an echo of Eurocentricity.
"As a personality, my version of Michael Simpson looks formidable, ferociously intelligent - yes, that just about sums him up!"
Michael Simpson is himself a busy artist and rather than take up his time with lots of sittings, the portrait was created using between 50 and 60 photographs of the subject, which were then scanned into a computer.
Paul Emsley is represented by the Redfern Gallery in Cork street, London.
His winning portrait will be on display for six weeks at in the upper gallery of the Victoria Art Gallery at Pulteney Bridge in Bath, alongside portraits by Gainsborough, Zoffany, Lawrence, Philpot and others.
The exhibition begins on Friday, 13 June until 13 July 2008 and although the portrait has been on tour to London, Newcastle and Scotland this is its only stop in the West.
The painting, which stands a massive 1,370 x 1,120 mm has now been sold and will be going abroad.
The Victoria Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm. The gallery is closed on Monday. Admission is free.
last updated: 13/05/2008 at 08:35
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