A NEW portrait of actor Hugh Jackman is now on prominent display in the National Portrait Gallery.
Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo was commissioned last year by the NPG to paint the portrait in recognition of his success on the international stage and screen, as well as his involvement with several charitable and philanthropic causes including World Vision and the Global Poverty Project.
But after an initial sitting, meetings between the two were thwarted by COVID-19, then Jackman needed to return to New York.
The pair continued to meet via Zoom, and Fantauzzo also enlisted the help of Jackman’s other half, Deborra-Lee Furness, who sent him videos and photographs of Jackman as he relaxed at home.
“There’s a look in Hugh’s eyes, it’s a moment in a conversation with someone he knows and trusts,” Fantauzzo said.
“It’s not a GQ photo shoot. There’s a love and intimacy, a side of Hugh that’s not the showman, it’s not Wolverine. I want people to walk in, see the portrait of Hugh and feel a real connection.”
NPG director of collections and exhibitions, Sandra Bruce, described the portrait as “striking in its complexity”.
“This is an excellent example of hyperrealism, where the artist’s accuracy and technical expertise combine with an ability to capture the subject’s character and likeness,” Bruce said.
“On closer look, subtle hints of layered, organic (almost unruly) mark-making emerge, and it is with this embedded element of free expression that the artist cleverly gets to the authentic heart of his sitter.”
In a video accompanying the portrait, Fantauzzo discusses the making of the portrait, as well as his early career, growing up with dyslexia, the processes behind his work, and the relationship forged between an artist and sitter during the making of a portrait.