In this occasional series, Fine Art Today delves into the world of portraiture, highlighting historical and contemporary examples of superb quality and skill. This week: Elena Vladimir Baranoff, “Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London.”

For collectors and art enthusiasts looking for the highest-quality portraits, the annual BP Portrait Awards are the gold standard. Selected from nearly 3,000 entries from artists representing over 80 countries, the exhibition (which is on view now through September 4 at London’s National Portrait Gallery) offers a grand prize of £30,000 and near instant celebrity.

Among the accepted works in the 2016 edition of the BP Portrait Awards is a work from the hand of an artist who’s no stranger to the exhibition: Elena Vladimir Baranoff. A champion of traditional Medieval egg tempera painting and techniques, Baranoff is among the “Hall of Fame” portraitists living today. Her absolutely magnificent portrait of Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London — painted in 2013 — has earned the first spotlight for Portrait of the Week.

At first encounter, one is immediately struck by the brilliant red robe worn by the Bishop. His gaze, slightly averted and elevated, undoubtedly connotes his role as a Biblical scholar, thinker, and teacher. The softness of the flesh, incredible detail, and overall photographic realism is a direct result of Baranoff’s mastery of egg tempera. Baranoff founded the Egg Tempera Movement — an organization established to promote and preserve this traditional painting method — and the Bishop was a noted supporter of the project.

To learn more, visit the BP Portrait Award 2016.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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