London-based artist Miriam Escofet has been announced as the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018 for An Angel at my Table, a portrait of her mother drinking tea. The first prize winner was revealed during a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in London last night.
Escofet's portrait was selected from 2,667 entries from 88 countries, submitted for judging anonymously by a panel which included journalist Rosie Millard and artist Glenn Brown. The judges were particularly struck by the constraint and intimacy of Escofet's composition, evoking both the inner stillness of her subject and the idea of the Universal Mother. Commenting on the portrait, Rosie Millard 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."
Lily Cole presented Miriam Escofet with £35,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £7,000 (agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist). Born in Barcelona, Escofet moved to the UK in 1979 when she was twelve. She has previously been selected four times for the BP Portrait Award exhibition. Escofet’s paintings are classically inspired, encompassing still life, allegory, imaginary composition and portraiture.
The second prize of £12,000 went to American painter, Felicia Forte, for Time Traveller, Matthew Napping, depicting her boyfriend Mathew asleep in bed. The judges were particularly impressed by the artist’s bold use of colour, creating a painting that exudes atmosphere while also being distinctly intimate and personal.
The third prize of £10,000 went to Chinese artist, Zhu Tongyao for Simone his portrait of his neighbours’ child from his time staying in Florence. The judges appreciated how the work combined the tradition of Renaissance portraiture with the sitter’s modern style that conveyed a compelling portrayal of a youth on the cusp of adulthood.
The BP Young Artist Award of £9,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by 28-year-old Suffolk based artist Ania Hobson for A Portrait of Two Female Painters – a portrait of the artist with her sister-in-law. The judges liked the handling of paint and directness in this work, capturing an interesting air of mystery around the relationship of the two young women.
The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 14 June when the BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition opens to the public. Admission to the exhibition is free.