Second Prize

by Michael Gaskell, 2015
Acrylic on Board
370 x 270mm

Selected five times for the BP Portrait Award, and winning second prize on three occasions, Michael Gaskell is a Leicester-based artist. In 2012 he was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint a portrait of climate scientist Sir James Lovelock and other commissions include a painting used on the poster for Wes Anderson’s 2012 film Moonrise Kingdom. His shortlisted portrait is of his niece Eliza who agreed to sit for him in early 2014 at the age of 14 having first sat for a portrait for her uncle when she was a very small child.

‘I hope this painting conveys a sense of Eliza’s growing confidence as she develops into a woman’, says Gaskell, ‘but retains some of the self-consciousness which was also present at the time.’ He says the primary influence on the appearance of the portrait was the work of the fifteenth-century painter Hans Memling. A year before he started the portrait of Eliza, Gaskell had been commissioned to make a painting of an American collector who had a particular interest in the Early Netherlandish artist and had at some point owned work by him. In preparation for that picture Gaskell set about studying portraits by Memling and believes his work informs aspects of his portrait of Eliza such as the lighting and the composition.

The Judges’ said: We agreed that this is a highly accomplished portrait, revealing the influence of Vermeer and Dutch seventeenth-century paintings while also a having a seemingly modern, timeless quality.’

Second Prize: £10,000.

Prize Winners

Annabelle and Guy

by Matan Ben-Cnaan


by Michael Gaskell


by Eleana Antonaki