Thomas Ganter, Man with a Plaid Blanket, 2014, oil on canvas, [no dimensions], currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Here we have the winning portrait from this year’s BP Portrait Awards. Ganter’s piece is a depiction of a homeless man from Frankfurt named Karel. The sitter’s pose and surroundings - namely the gold background and coffee-cup rose - are crucial to the portrait’s overall effect. Ganter has said of the work: ‘By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative, or dependent on socioeconomic status.’ [Source]. I adore this concept, but I do think that Karel’s facial expression is really what makes this piece as compelling as it is.