The Archibald Prize is regarded as one of the most prestigious art awards and the most important portaiture prize in Australia. Initially the prize money was £400 and is now a cool $75,000!
This annual prize was commenced in 1921 after bequest of J. F. Archibald, the founder of The Bulletin magazine.
It is administered by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and awarded for:
“the best portrait, preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics, painted by an artist resident in Australia during the twelve months preceding the date fixed by the Trustees for sending in the pictures.”
Portraits submitted for the Archibald Prize must be painted from life. This means that the subject should be known to the artist and is aware of the artist’s intention to paint them. To verify this the Artist must provide a written statement signed by the subject stating that they had at least one sitting with the artist.
The prize has, since its inception, triggered much controversy, particularly through the exact definition of a “portrait”. Over time styles, influences and expectations ebb and flow with regard to art in general and it seems the exact definition of a “portrait” fluctuates with this also. What is acceptable and what is not?
I give you this to consider:
This piece was selected as a 2010 finalist. (Visit here for all pictures of the 2010 finalists).
How do YOU feel about this piece being selected as a finalist for this prestigious award?
For comparison, these are the winners of the award for 2010, 2011, 2012 (click the photos to find out more about the art and artists).