A week ago I was invited to the press preview of the BP Portrait Award 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery. For somebody like me who likes art (ok, a bit of a vague statement, I admit), is fascinated by faces and portraits and always though I had a little bit of talent in that area, this was absolutely amazing and interesting. The amount of talent in that room was staggering and I was confronted with the ugly truth that my "talent" in that area is pretty limited if not negligible which isn't an easy thing to accept...
Hanging on those walls were (still are of course, the exhibition runs until the 21st September) 55 of the very best portrait artists' submissions from all over the world which had been selected from a staggering 2377 entries! From huge scale to small triptych, from clothed to near-on naked, and from very formal to literally "sitting on the loo", the portraits were as varied as the individual artists. The interesting thing is that I didn't have just one favourite (though one portrait was very close) as they weren't comparable in that sense. Each had something spectacular, interesting and its own style.
This is just a small selection with some of my personal favourites which is of course completely subjective. I'm not in a position to judge any of them, so I go with my gut feeling and the ones that captivate me the most, I feel most drawn to or seem to "speak" to me in a way. For me, that's how I look at art. It doesn't matter to me who painted it, how much a painting might be worth or how highly praised it is by critics, if a piece of art draws me in and makes me stop in my tracks, then it's a good piece for me. It's as simple as that.
If you are in London, then you should definitely go and visit this exhibition, it's absolutely worth it and the admission is free! Take a little time out of your busy schedule (and I know how difficult that can be) and let yourself be captivated by these beautiful and interesting pieces. And if you can't go in person, well, you can always get one of the prints from the exhibition here.
I'm now off to France to celebrate my gran's 100th birthday, so whilst you're reading this, I'm probably driving down the autoroute towards the birthplace of Art Nouveau which is Nancy. But that's an art post for when I'm back. Wishing you all a lovely weekend.