The National Portrait Gallery has announced the four artists shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2019, selected from 2,538 entries by artists from 84 countries.

The paintings will be displayed at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 June to 20 October 2019 alongside work by another 40 artists selected for the exhibition.

The four nominated portraits are: Emma Hopkins’ portrait of her friend and her pet dog, Sophie and Carla; Quo Vardis? by Massimiliano Pironti, which shows the artist’s 95-year-old grandmother in her kitchen; Carl-Martin Sandvold’s self-portrait, The Crown; and Charlie Schaffer’s portrait of his friend, Imara in her Winter Coat.

The winner will receive a prize of £35,000 and, at the National Portrait Gallery’s discretion, a commission worth £7,000. There is also a second prize of £12,000, a third prize of £10,000, and the £9,000 BP Young Artist Award for an artist aged between 18 and 30. Winners will announced on 10 June.

Now in its 40th year, the judging panel for the 2019 award was chaired by NPG director Dr Nicholas Cullinan and featured: writer and presenter Gaylene Gould, artist Gary Hume, chief curator of the NPG Alison Smith, Des Violaris, director, UK Arts & Culture, BP, and senior curator of the Hayward Gallery, Zoé Whitley.

This is the first time any of the artists have been shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award and the first time Emma Hopkins, Carl-Martin Sandvold and Charlie Schaffer have entered the competition. Massimiliano Pironti was selected in 2018.

Cullinan said: “Each year, the BP Portrait Award showcases exceptional works of contemporary painted portraiture and this year’s exhibition, which marks 30 years of BP sponsorship, is no different. The award has become one of the most prestigious portrait prizes internationally and the works selected represent some of the best examples of the genre.

“My fellow judges and I assessed the paintings in terms of their technique, quality and what they disclose of the artist’s own approach to the subject and how this resonates with the viewer. My congratulations to this year’s shortlisted artists for their exceptional and inspiring works.”

BP’s longstanding sponsorship of the high-profile award continues to attract protests, with campaigning groups such as Art Not Oil and Culture Unstained calling for the NPG to sever its ties with the UK-based fossil fuel company.

In September 2017, that year’s winner of the BP Young Artist Award, the New Zealand artist Henry Christian-Slane, gave a portion of his £7,000 prize to Greenpeace in protest at BP’s involvement.

1. Carl-Martin Sandvold, The Crown, 2019. © Carl-Martin Sandvold
2. Charlie Schaffer, Imara in her Winter Coat, 2019. © Charlie Schaffer
3. Massimiliano Pironti, Quo Vardis?, 2018. © Massimiliano Pironti
4. Emma Hopkins, Sophie and Carla, 2019. © Emma Hopkins

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