A Portrait of Europe
Portrait paintings of EU Citizens by UK Artists
I was privileged to be selected by Briony Kapoor (yes, Anish's aunt!) as one of 15 portrait painters for this adventurous project, which is intended to be exhibited in venues throughout the European Union.
As Creative Director of the IMOS Foundation Charity, Briony had a vision to 'send gifted UK artists to each of the twenty eight countries of the Union', and to find a citizen and paint their portrait.
It isn't a new idea, artists got the same brief for The Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493! Durer's uncle printed it and Durer worked for him. The rest as they say is history!
I was keen to go to Vienna as I'd always wanted to meet a distant relative who had owned a gallery in New York's Fifth Avenue. Unfortunately, when I rang to say I'd booked my flight he was spending his 103rd birthday in bed with flu! I decided to go anyway and on my last free day my telephone enquiry was met with:' Oh he's perfectly fine today and would love to sit to you!'
In deference to his very advanced age I went prepared to only do one hour sitting,but what I hadn't been prepared for was his request for no photos. One hour later he delightedly pronounced the painting 'good, very good', and waived the ban on photos so I was able to capture his fleeting and expressive hand gestures. In the painting he reminded me of an enigmatic magician, you could say we both conjured up his portrait!
Below is Paul Brassington's observation on the portrait from The Catalogue:
I found the subject for my second portrait through my husband's Church Warden in our Cotswold Village. I knew he had Swedish relatives and asked if he could suggest someone. 'My grand daughter, she's drop dead gorgeous' was his immediate reaction. Judge the result for yourself :
The IMOS Catalogue Listing describes both assignments:
and finally Briony Kapoor's critique on Ulrika 'The Ice Maiden'.