Israeli Artist Matan Ben Cnaan Wins 2015 BP Portrait Award with Bible Inspired Painting

Matan Ben Cnaan, Annabelle and Guy (2015) Photo: courtesy the National Portrait Gallery
Matan Ben Cnaan, Annabelle and Guy (2015)
Photo: courtesy the National Portrait Gallery

The 2015 BP Portrait Award has gone to Israeli artist Matan Ben Cnaan for Annabelle and Guy (2015), a neo-realistic portrait painting inspired by the Bible story of Jephthah and his daughter.

Ben Cnaan was named as the winner of the £30,000 contemporary painting award in a ceremony held on Tuesday at London’s National Portrait Gallery, where the shortlisted entries will be exhibited to the public from tomorrow.

The story of the Israelite judge Jephthah is that he vowed to God that he would sacrifice the first thing that greeted him on his return from war with the Ammonites, if he was victorious. Expecting this to be his dog, he was horrified to see his only daughter run towards him. But he kept the vow, and executed his child.

The second prize of the 2015 BP Portrait Award went to the British artist Michael Gaskell for Eliza (2015), a portrait of his niece painted in stunning photographic detail.

The third prize was awarded to the Spanish artist Borja Buces Renard, for My Mother and My Brother on a Sunday Evening (2015).

Recently, there has been much discussion over BP’s sponsorship of the prize and the other arts related affiliations they nurture (see Climate Activists Occupy Tate Modern In Dramatic Protest Over BP Sponsorship of the Arts).

The BP Portrait Prize is on view at London’s National Portrait Gallery , from June 18 to September 20, 2015.

Michael Gaskell<i>Eliza</i> (2015)<br> Photo: courtesy the National Portrait Gallery

The second prize went to Michael Gaskell for Eliza (2015)
Photo: Courtesy National Portrait Gallery

Borja Buces Renard<i>My Mother and My Brother on a Sunday Evening</i> (2015)<br> Photo: courtesy the National Portrait Gallery

The third prize went to Borja Buces Renard for My Mother and My Brother on a Sunday Evening (2015)
Photo: Courtesy National Portrait Gallery


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