Homeless Man Picture Wins BP Portrait Prize

Thomas Ganter with his portrait, Man with a Plaid Blanket
First Prize winner Thomas Ganter with his portrait, Man with a Plaid Blanket Photography © Jorge Herrera, courtesy the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Painter Thomas Ganter has won the £30,000 BP Portrait Prize with the painting of a homeless man he encountered outside Frankfurt’s Städel museum, the Guardian reports. The artist was struck by the resemblance between the man, called Karel, and the figures he had studied in the museum’s old masters collection.

“After being in a museum, I saw a homeless man and was stunned by a similarity: the clothes, the pose and other details resembled what I just saw in various paintings,” Ganter said. “However, this time I was looking at a homeless person wrapped in a blanket and not at the painting of a saint or a noble in their elaborate garment.”

The idea behind the painting is to “emphasize that everyone deserves respect and care,” he added.

The BP Portrait Prize attracted 2,377 entries this year. An exhibition of the best pictures opens at the National Portrait Gallery in London on June 26, before touring the Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery later this year.


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