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The £20,000 SELF prize, which aims to explore self-representation in painting and drawing, is a new prize offered by the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. It was awarded yesterday to Czech artist Jan Milkulka.
Free from the constraints of commissioned portraiture, the self-portrait does not seek to flatter the sitter, pay a model, play slave to time and is free to explore character and medium; the artist is at liberty to push the boundaries and experiment. The 29 shortlisted self-portraits were selected from 946 works, submitted by 635 artists. While almost 30% of the artists were London based, 63 artists submitted from outside the UK.
The Winner of the £20,000 SELF prize is Self Portrait by Jan Mikulka. Mikulka was born 1980 and lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic. Charlotte Mullins, one of the SELF Judges said of the piece:
This self-portrait draws you to it through its technical proficiency and expressive power. You feel you are standing in front of the artist, watching him concentrate on his likeness – his eyes hooded yet determined, his lips pressed together through concentration.
Mikulka won the 2011 Visitor’s Choice in the BP Portrait Award for his photorealistic portrait Jakub, of his lifelong friend.
See Rosalind Ormiston's review of an unusual exhibition of self-portraits held in London last year, Shooting, but not to kill