Monday, March 3, 2008

Heath Ledger’s final portrait

Heath Ledger’s final portraitThis painting of the late actor Heath Ledger - which he sat for less than two months before his death in January - has been entered into the 2008 Archibald Prize, Australia's top award for portraiture.

Artist Vincent Fantauzzo from Melbourne, Australia, says he will give the portrait, a large canvas featuring three photo-realistic renderings of a shirt-less Ledger, to the actor's family, who have asked for it.

"It seems only right, as we did the sitting at his mum's house in Perth and she was very much a part of the process, making us tea and crumpets and watching from the sideline," Fantauzzo said.

The central and largest of the images has the actor staring straight ahead, looking somewhat exhausted. The two background images feature Ledger with humorous expressions and whispering into the ears of his foreground image.

Ledger's body was discovered in his Manhattan apartment on January 22. His death has been ruled an accidental overdose from prescription pills.

The 28-year-old was nominated for an Academy Award for playing a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain.

Fantauzzo recalled the actor as "one of the most charismatic people" he's worked with, who was "witty, sarcastic and a lot of fun."

He said the two spoke for hours about art and when it came to sitting for the work, Ledger was the model of concentration.

Fantauzzo flew to Perth during the Christmas break to paint Ledger at his family home. He said that although Ledger looks weary in the main image, the actor was feeling "very positive about the future."

The winner of the Archibald Prize, worth about $47,000 USD, will be announced on March 7.

By Gavin Wilson, Mar 03 2008 © Copyright 2008 - Showbiz Spy

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