Entertainment & Arts

Portrait Award exhibition visitors favour Czech's work

Jakub by Jan Mikulka
Image caption Artist Jan Mikulka has known Jakub Wagner since childhood

Visitors to the National Portrait Gallery's BP Portrait Award have chosen a depiction of a Czech film-maker as their exhibition favourite.

An oil painting of Jakub Wagner by Prague artist Jan Mikulka polled the most votes cast by gallery attendees.

But the work was not amongst the final five for the £25,000 main award, which was won by Wim Heldens.

The London gallery said it expects a total of some 325,000 visitors to the exhibition, which closes Sunday.

Wagner works as a documentary film maker and the Mikulka aimed to "capture his sensitive nature at a short distance".

Runner-up to Mikulka's pale, red-haired subject according to exhibition visitors was Abi by Nathan Ford, followed by Despertar - Awakening by Manuel Ferrer Perea.

The National Portrait Gallery said the winner was ahead in the voting from the outset.

It added that the portrait caught the public's imagination with its "minutely detailed and skilful rendering of hair and skin tones and effective lighting".

More than 28,500 votes were cast by visitors to the exhibition, which has been on display since June.

Mikulka's portrait picked up some 2,280 nods from the public.

The work will now go on tour with the exhibition to Wolverhampton and Aberdeen after it closes its doors in London.

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