The National Portrait Gallery has announced the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2013.
The prestigious first prize was won by 57-year-old artist Susanne du Toit, for Pieter, a powerful painting of her eldest son. Educated at the University of Pretoria and the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, du Toit is an artist now based in Crowthorne, Berkshire.
The sitting took place in the artist's studio, as part of a series of portraits of her family. Susanne du Toit says she allowed Pieter to find his own pose, with the condition that his hands would appear prominently in the composition – she says she has always found hands essential to communicating personality.
I look to the body to provide as much expression as the face. Having said that, the averted gaze of this portrait, which was his choice, struck me as characteristic of his reflective character, and became intensely engaging.
Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees' discretion, worth £5,000. The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 20 June 2013 when the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition opens to the public.
The second prize of £10,000 went to Coventry-based artist and teacher John Devane, 58, for The Uncertain Time, a striking group portrait depicting his children Lucy, Laura and Louis.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.