BP Portrait Award: Mum drinking tea picture wins top prize

BBC News
Shutterstock The winning portrait, left, and the third prize winner, right

A slightly surreal portrait of an artist's elderly mother drinking a cup of tea has won the BP Portrait Award.

Miriam Escofet said she wanted An Angel at My Table to show "the universal mother". Judges praised its "constraint and intimacy".

Alma Escofet is shown taking tea, but a closer look reveals some of the objects on the table are moving.

The artist was awarded £35,000 and a gallery commission worth £7,000 at the National Portrait Gallery.

Escofet, who was born in Barcelona and lives in London, had been selected for the BP Portrait award exhibition four times previously.

She said that while she was painting, she wanted to "transmit an idea of the universal mother, who is at the centre of our psyche and emotional world".

Rosie Millard, one of the judges, said: "The crisp tablecloth and china are rendered so beautifully - and then you see that one of the plates and a winged sculpture on the table appear to be moving which adds a surreal quality to the portrait.

"It is also a very sensitive depiction of an elderly sitter."

The winning portrait, painted in oils, was chosen from 2,667 entries from 88 countries, which were all judged anonymously.

American artist Felicia Forte won the £12,000 second prize for Time Traveller, Matthew Napping, which shows her boyfriend sleeping in his bed on a hot day in Detroit.

Forte said she was inspired by the contrasts, with "cool light from the window meeting intense red light from the bedside lamp and the loneliness of the sleeper amidst the festive colours".

The third prize of £10,000 went to Chinese artist Zhu Tongyao for Simone, which depicts his neighbours' child. It was painted while Tongyao was studying in Florence.

Ania Hobson, 28, who is based in Suffolk, won the BP Young Artist Award - and a £9,000 prize - for A Portrait of Two Female Painters, which shows her and her sister-in-law Stevie Dix.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, chair of the judges and director of the National Portrait Gallery said it had been a year of "outstanding entries", representing "the very best of contemporary portrait painting".

The BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition is at the National Portrait Gallery from 14 June to 23 September and admission is free.

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