The people have spoken and cast their vote for Anne Middleton’s portrait of Australian actor Guy Pearce, which has been named the 2018 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice award. A hyper realistic, large-scale portrait simply titled Guy, it wins Middleton a $3500 cash prize.

Anne Middleton,  Guy. Oil on linen, 192 x 192cm © the artist. Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter

“The entire process of painting this portrait was both daunting and exciting,” Middleton said. “Guy and I talked about the qualities of tin-type photography and discussed how we could capture a similar sensation of peering into his soul. The scale of the painting was liberating, and I could paint loosely and expressively despite the level of detail.”

Middleton’s first time working on a large-scale portrait, it took three sittings and ten weeks of additional work to capture the actor’s likeness. The artist drew on her knowledge of 17th and 18th-century European oil painting techniques to build luminosity and form.

Anne Middleton and Guy Pearce in the studio. Image courtesy of the artist

“I painted Guy in the natural light of my studio,” said Middleton. “The light rakes...