Focus on the winner

K-6: Looking and interpreting questions and activities

  • Compare Tim Storrier’s winning work – The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch) – to other finalists in the Archibald Prize 2012. Identify what makes this portrait unique in this exhibition. Do you like the way Storrier has arranged the picture? How does this painting make you feel? How do you think the figure in the painting is feeling?
  • Do you think Storrier used a mirror for this self-portrait? Describe how the figure is posed. Imagine what he can see in the distance. What does his outfit and body language suggest? What do you think he is searching for?
  • Storrier has constructed this self-portrait by depicting objects and tools of his profession. List the items the figure is carrying. Locate the small sketch of the artist which has blown away in the painting. Draw a self-portrait in a similar dream-like style, using a selection of objects that would represent you.
  • Locate the artist’s pet dog, Smudge. How is Smudge coping with this journey? What is Storrier suggesting about the connection with his dog? Is this painting a portrait of Smudge? Discuss in class.
  • Observe how much space Storrier has left around the figure. What does the stark, barren landscape suggest? Visualise yourself walking in this landscape. What time of the day is it? Describe the weather.
  • What art materials has Storrier used to create this portrait? Describe the surface texture of the painting. Can you tell the size of the brush the artist used? Role-play how the artist created this artwork.

7-12: Issues for consideration

  • This artwork references a painting by Hieronymus Bosch called The wayfarer or The pedlar c1510. Find an image of the Bosch painting and compare it to Storrier’s self-portrait. Consider the reasons why Storrier may have selected this particular work as a reference.
  • Examine how this artwork is different to other finalists in the Archibald Prize 2012. Debate this in class if awarding the prize to Storrier is bending the rules of the Archibald Prize.
  • Discuss Storrier’s approach to self-portraiture. Find an image of his 2011 Archibald entry. Compare and contrast the ages of the figures and the items being carried. Identify how Storrier has challenged the conventions of portrait painting. Examine his use of irony.
  • Research Storrier’s art practice. Find out whether the depiction of faceless figures is a characteristic of his current work.
  • Do you think each year’s Archibald Prize winners reflect contemporary art practice? Discuss in class.

Archibald Prize 2012 winner