A painter who originally took part 18 years ago and a Berkshire artist whose sitter is her son will compete for this year's BP Portrait Award, which has upped its winning prize after receiving almost 2,000 entries in its 34th year.
Both of the finalists are family-orientated. John Devane, a teacher at Coventry University who attended the Royal College of Art, has made a group portrait of his three children, created during a three-year period in an attempt to chart the process of growing up.
© John Devane
Inspired by Courbet, Chardin, Degas, Balthus and Samuel Beckett, he exhibited in the competition in 1995, and says his composition “suggests an almost stage-like shallow space” which is “constructed in two zones”.
In Pieter, Susanne du Toit portrays her eldest son in her studio, stipulating only that he keep his hands prominently on show.
“I look to the body to provide as much expression as the face’, she says, calling Pieter’s pose “intensely engaging.”
The top prize has been increased by £5,000, sealing BP’s support for the Award for a further five years.
The winning artist will also agree a £5,000 commission with the gallery after the result has been announced on June 18 2013.
More than 255,000 visitors saw the exhibition accompanying the prize in 2012. This year’s display will run from June 20 – September 15.