Zurich Young Portrait Prize: Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of a young child drawing with an adult's hands stabilising the piece of paper.
Photographer: Jack Caffrey, The Pimlico Project, 2017Credit

The competition is now closed. The deadline to enter was 21 June 2019.


The following are a list of frequently asked questions for artists entering the Zurich Young Portrait Prize 2019.


What is a portrait? 

A portrait is a representation of a person, made out of any material e.g. a painting, drawing, collage, photograph, sculpture, audio or video.

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?
You can submit a portrait that you made in the last 12 months. 

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

Do I have to be from Ireland to submit a portrait? 
Entries are welcome from anyone between 0-18 years who are ordinarily resident in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

If I created my portrait as a commission is it eligible?
No, commissioned portraits will not be accepted.

Are there any size restrictions? 
The portrait should be no bigger than:
150cm (length) x 100cm (width) for 2D works
100cm (length) x 80cm (width) x 200 cm (height) for 3D works. 

Is there a weight restriction? 
Yes. The maximum weight is 40kg. 

What does ‘display-ready’ mean?
Display-ready means framing a drawing, painting or photograph, making a plinth for a sculpture or providing equipment for an audio/video piece. Shortlisted portraits will be made display-ready by the National Gallery of Ireland technical team. 

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

Can I enter a portrait of my pet?
You are welcome to include your pet or any animal in the image as long as the main subject of the portrait is of a human. 

Can I enter a portrait of a fictional/ imaginary figure?
No. Portraits of unidentified, unidentifiable, fictional or imaginary figures (whether living or historical) will not be accepted. Only a real person who you know personally (e.g. a family member, friend, teacher) can be the subject of your portrait. However, you can depict your portrait as imaginatively as you wish. 

Can I enter a diptych/triptych? 
Yes. A diptych is an image created on two hinged, flat surfaces. A triptych is an image created on three hinged, flat surfaces.

Can I enter through my school? 
Yes. You can enter through your school but all submissions will be judged on an individual basis.

What materials can I use? 
Works in any material (including painting, drawing, collage, photography, video, sound, print, textiles, ceramics, sculpture etc.) will be accepted.

Is it necessary to have the consent of the sitter? 
Yes. A sitter is a person who sits for a portrait. The entrant must have the consent of the sitter to display the portrait. If the sitter is 17 or under (or cannot otherwise consent on their own behalf) the entrant must include the consent of the sitter’s parent/guardian. See Part 4 of the Entry Form. 


Where do I find the entry form?
On the National Gallery of Ireland website: www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/zurich-young-portrait-prize

What will you do with my personal information? 
All personal data given will be held securely by the Gallery for a 24-month period and will be used to administer your entry. It may be used for internal research/statistical purposes. Personal data will be used by the third-party data processor MailChimp. 

Can I send in my application by post? 
No. All submissions must be made via email to: [email protected] 

How many digital photographs can I submit with my form? 
Please submit 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. 

How do I submit a video portrait?
For video portraits, please share your video on file-sharing service WeTransfer and use your own name as the title of the file you are sharing.

How do I submit an audio/sound portrait?
Please submit an MP3 or WAV file.


What is the closing date? 
The closing date for submissions is midnight (GMT) 21 June 2019. 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 during July 2019.

How does the judging process work? 
All the digital images/files of portraits successfully entered will be viewed by a panel of three judges. From these entries, the judges will draw up a longlist for a second round of the judging process. From that longlist they will select the shortlist that will go on display at the Gallery in October 2019. They will then choose the winning portraits, having examined the artworks in real life in the Gallery.

When will I hear if my portrait has been shortlisted for the exhibition? 
You will be notified by email by the end of July 2019.

Will I be informed if I have not been shortlisted?

If my work has been shortlisted when will I need to deliver it to the Gallery?
All shortlisted entrants will be informed of when they need to deliver their portrait to the Gallery. The Education Team will be available to provide advice and support in relation to transporting your portrait to the Gallery.
When does the exhibition open?

The exhibition of shortlisted portraits will open at the National Gallery in early October 2019.

What is the prize for winners of the Zurich Young Portrait Prize? 
There will be five winners in total. Four highly commended entrants, one from each age category: 6 years and under / 7-11 years / 12-15 years / 16-18 years) and one overall winner. The prize for the four highly commended entrants will be a personalised wooden box of high quality art materials specific to their choice of material in their portrait and a cash prize of €250. The overall winner will be awarded a personalised wooden box of high quality art materials specific to their choice of material in their portrait and a cash prize of €500. All twenty shortlisted entrants will come away with a professionally framed/display-ready artwork and will have their artwork shown at the National Gallery of Ireland. 

This is an inclusive art competition that is open to children and young people of all abilities from across the island of Ireland.

You can download a PDF copy of these questions here


Glossary of terms

Portrait A representation of a person made out of any material e.g. a painting, drawing, collage, photograph, sculpture, audio or video.
Entrant A person who enters or takes part in something.
Sitter A person who sits for a portrait.
Consent Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.
Diptych An image created on two hinged flat surfaces.
Triptych An image created on three hinged flat surfaces.
Material Anything you use to make your portrait (e.g. paint, ink, crayon, collage, pencil, wire, wood)
2D Two-dimensional surface (e.g. a sheet of paper, card or wood, stretched canvas)
3D Three-dimensional object (e.g. a sculpture made of material such as wood, wire, steel) 
Video A recording of moving visual images made digitally or on videotape.
Audio Sound that is recorded, transmitted, or reproduced.
Three-quarter length portrait in oil of a young man wearing an elaborate embroidered cape, ruff and cap, and holding a sword.

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