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Discover the very best of contemporary portrait painting in this prestigious annual exhibition.

Straight from the National Portrait Gallery, which has been organising the exhibition for 38 years, the BP Portrait Award arrives in Exeter, showcasing the work of 53 artists from around the globe.

This year, 2,580 paintings were entered from 87 countries. The judges chose a final shortlist of three from the exhibited works and awarded £61,000 in prizes, £30,000 going to the winner. The exposure encourages both new and established artists to push the boundaries of portraiture, and many go on to win important commissions.

The paintings capture stories from all walks of life, and judges look for what each portrait tells us about both the sitter and the artist, how it connects with the viewer and whether it offers a narrative. Leading artists of every style and approach to their subject are represented, meaning that although four of the award-winning works this year are superficially similar in theme, the results are fascinatingly varied in mood and character.

From fresh slants on famous faces to moments of domestic intimacy, from photo-realism to expressionist techniques, the BP Portrait Award offers a unique opportunity to experience this compelling art form in all its guises.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

Queen Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3RX

01392 665858


Opening times

Daily, 10am to 5pm. Closed Mondays and Bank Holidays.

Free to all

50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

10% off in shop

Valid to 31 December 2020

10% off in café

Valid to 31 December 2020

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