Artists, children and young people encouraged to enter Portrait Prize

The National Gallery of Ireland has launched the 2021 Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize competitions. 

For the Zurich Portrait Prize, the annual competition showcasing contemporary portraiture, the Gallery invites submissions from across the island of Ireland, and from Irish artists living abroad. The Zurich Young Portrait Prize is open to young people aged 18 and under.

The Zurich Portrait Prize aims to encourage interest in contemporary portraiture and to showcase the National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of €15,000 and will be commissioned to create a work for the national portrait collection, for which they will be awarded a further €5,000. Two additional awards of €1,500 will be given to highly commended works. Judges for the Zurich Portrait Prize are: artist Eamonn Doyle; Róisín Kennedy, art critic and Lecturer/Assistant Professor in the School of Art History & Cultural Policy, UCD; and Seán Kissane, Curator at IMMA.

The Zurich Young Portrait Prize returns for its third year in 2021. The inclusive art competition is open to children and young people of all abilities aged up to 18 from across the island of Ireland. Winners in four age categories and an overall winner will be chosen from a shortlist of 20 works. Winners will receive a bespoke art box and a cash prize. This year’s Zurich Young Portrait Prize judges are: visual artist Aideen Barry; artist, art teacher and activist Joe Caslin; and Tadhg Crowley, Senior Curator: Education + Community at the Glucksman.

Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, said, “We were overwhelmed with the tremendous response to last year’s Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize. Following a challenging year for artists and children, we hope to learn more about how art has inspired, provided an escape or brought joy to people across the country in recent times.”

Neil Freshwater, CEO of Zurich, said, “Zurich is proud to have supported these important competitions since 2018. Working with the National Gallery of Ireland to shine a spotlight on talented artists of all ages has been a fantastic experience. We’re looking forward to seeing the shortlists for both the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize later this year.”

The closing date for entries to the Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize is 23 June 2021. Exhibitions featuring shortlisted works in both competitions run at the National Gallery of Ireland between 13 November 2021 and 3 April 2022. The exhibition will continue to partner Crawford Art Gallery, Cork where it will be displayed between 23 April and 17 July 2022. Details of both competitions can be found at

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