by Craig Wylie
oil on canvas, 2012
68 in. x 45 3/8 in. (1728 mm x 1152 mm)
Commissioned as part of the First Prize, 2008 BP Portrait Award, 2012
Sitterback to top
- Dame Kelly Holmes (1970-), Middle distance runner; Olympian. Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Sittings for this portrait took place in late 2011. The scale of the work is important to the artist, for whom the act of painting creates 'a kind of hyperreality through amplification', appropriately reflecting the sitter's own extraordinary achievements.
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- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 280 Read entry
Athlete Kelly Holmes joined the army at the age of eighteen, at the same time continuing the athletics training she had begun at school. In 1994 she won the 1500m in the Commonwealth Games. Holmes became a professional athlete in 1997 and, despite suffering injury, won a bronze medal in the 800m at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. A string of wins culminated in a British record-breaking performance at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, during which Holmes took two gold medals: in the 800m and the 1500m events. Holmes was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2004 and is Founder and Chair of the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, a charity that seeks to create life chances for young people through sport.
The unveiling of this portrait in 2012 was timed to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sittings took place in late 2011, and artist Craig Wylie (b.1973) took a number of photographs of Holmes from which to work during these sessions. The large scale of this portrait is important to the artist, who has said that the act of painting creates ‘a kind of hyperreality through amplification’, reflecting the sitter’s extraordinary sporting achievements.