Faceless portrait wins top Australian prize

The Histrionic Wayfarer (After Bosch) by Tim Storrier. [AGNSW]

The Histrionic Wayfarer (After Bosch) by Tim Storrier. [AGNSW]

Last Updated: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:09:00 +1100

A painting of a faceless man has won Australia's most prestigious portraiture prize, the Archibald.

Tim Storrier's work The Histrionic Wayfarer (After Bosch) was chosen from 41 finalists to win the $US75,000 prize, an increase of $25,000 from last year.

Though there is no face to identify the pith-helmeted figure, Storrier says his winning work is a self-portrait.

He wears glasses and carries an over-stuffed backpack, which includes Storrier's dog and muse Smudge.

If you look closely, a drawing of Storrier's face can be seen on a piece of paper being blown away by the wind in the background of the painting.

He was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's The Wayfarer, painted in 1510 and currently housed in a Rotterdam museum.

"It was never designed initially as a self-portrait," Storrier told ABC News 24.

"It started out as being a reverential work to a painting by Bosch called The Wayfarer, which is essentially about a pilgrim making a decision between good and evil.

"Now this is not as clear as that, but it's a starting point."

The artist thanked Smudge, who was present at Friday's ceremony at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in his acceptance speech.

"I suppose you can say I have won with a portrait of a dog," he said.

Storrier was an Archibald finalist last year with a similar faceless self-portrait.

This year's runner-up was After Jack by Jenny Sages.

The finalists will go on public display at the gallery from Saturday.


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