Zurich Portrait Prize 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

Zurich Portrait Prize

The following are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Zurich Portrait Prize 2020

How many entries can I submit?
Entry is limited to one portrait per artist.

Can I submit a portrait I did a few years ago?
The submitted portrait must have been started after 1 July 2017 and completed by 1 July 2020.

Can I resubmit a portrait I entered last year?
Yes, as long as it was completed between the above dates and was not shortlisted in previous years for the Hennessy or Zurich Portrait Prize competitions at the National Gallery of Ireland.

If my portrait has won another award can I enter it?

I have collaborated with the Gallery on past projects and/or am engaged from time to time by the Gallery as a volunteer/tour guide/workshop facilitator/art instructor etc. Am I eligible to enter the competition?
Yes, you may enter so long as you aren’t currently undertaking work for, or in collaboration with, the Gallery, and you are not scheduled to on, or before, 21 November 2020.

Are there any size restrictions?
The portrait must be of a size and medium that does not inhibit its display in the Gallery. The Gallery has the right to exclude artworks that cannot be reasonably displayed due to their medium or size. Unframed dimensions must be provided in the entry form. If your artwork is to be displayed framed, those framed dimensions must also be given in the entry form.

What does ‘display-ready’ mean?
Your portrait must be finished and ready for display, without amendment, in the Gallery. If a shortlisted artwork requires a frame, any fitting must be completed before delivery to the Gallery. All 2D artworks will be hung from wires. All 2D artworks need to be able to accommodate a hanging fixing of 15mm wide. Any equipment that is specific and/or integral to the display of the artwork will need to be provided by the artist.

Can I enter a self-portrait or a group portrait?

Can I enter a portrait of my pet?
No. Portraits of animals will not be accepted.

Can I enter a portrait of a fictional/ imaginary figure?
No. Portraits of fictional/ imaginary figures will not be accepted.

Can I enter a diptych/triptych?

What media can I use?
Works in any media (including photography, video, sound, print, textiles, ceramics, sculpture etc.) are acceptable. The Gallery has the right to exclude artworks if the materials, substances, or media used are deemed to be unacceptable i.e. hazardous.

Is it necessary to have the consent of the sitter?
Yes. The artist must have the consent of the sitter(s) (or, where relevant, the sitter’s parent, guardian or estate) to submit the portrait. This consent must be marked on the application form. If permission has not been granted, this will lead to disqualification. If shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize 2020, you will be asked to provide proof of consent from the sitter in your portrait.

Is it possible to enter a commissioned portrait?
Yes, once the portrait was started before 1 July 2017 and completed by 1 July 2020.


Where do I find the entry form?
You can download the entry form here on the National Gallery of Ireland website.

What will you do with my personal information?
All personal data given will be held securely by the Gallery and will be used to administer your entry. It may be used for internal research/statistical purposes. Your data will also be shared with our partner venue, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

Can I send in my application by post?
No. All submissions must be made via email. Send the fully completed entry form as a Word document to [email protected]

How many digital photographs can I submit with my entry form?
You are restricted to submitting 1 JPEG of your portrait if it is a flat/2D piece (e.g. painting; photograph), and 3 digital images if it is a 3D piece (e.g. sculpture).

What are the requirements for the images that I submit?
The image that you submit must be saved as a JPEG format. The file size must be no larger than 3MB. Any file size larger than 3MB is not admissible to the prize.

How do I submit a video portrait?
For video portraits, please use WeTransfer to share your video to the [email protected] email address and use your own name as the title of the file you are sharing.

How do I submit an audio/sound portrait?
Please use WeTransfer to submit an MP3 or WAV file to the [email protected] email address and use your own name as the title of the file you are sharing.


What is the closing date?
The closing date for submissions is midnight (GMT) 1 July 2020. No entries submitted after this date and time will be considered.

When does the judging happen?
The panel of judges will make their initial selection in late July 2020.

How does the judging process work?
All the digital images/files of portraits successfully entered will be viewed by a panel of judges. From these entries, the judges will draw up a longlist for a second round of adjudication. From that longlist they will select the final shortlist to go on display at the Gallery in November 2020. They will then choose the winning portrait and two highly commended portraits, having examined the artworks in situ in the Gallery.

When will I hear if my portrait has been shortlisted for the exhibition?
You will be notified by email in early August 2020.

Will I be informed if I have not been shortlisted?
Yes. You will be informed by email in early August 2020. The decisions of the judges are final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to such decisions. Feedback will not be available whether an artist is shortlisted or not.

If my work has been shortlisted when will I need to deliver it to the Gallery?
All shortlisted portraits must be delivered to the Gallery by appointment in August 2020 (exact date to be confirmed).
When does the exhibition open?
The exhibition of shortlisted portraits will open to the public at the National Gallery of Ireland on 21 November 2020. The prize-giving ceremony will take place on 1 December 2020. All dates are subject to change.

When does the exhibition close?
The exhibition of shortlisted portraits will close on 21 March 2021. Please note that the exhibition will then travel to our partner venue, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, where the shortlisted works will be displayed from 17 April to 11 July 2021.

If my portrait is shortlisted, how will it be transported to the second venue?
The transport of works between venues will be facilitated by the National Gallery of Ireland.

Download a PDF copy of these FAQs here