The Eyes Have It: Melbourne Artist Wins Archibald Prize People's Choice Award

"The eyes say it all and Guy Pearce's extraordinary gaze intrigues me."

What you need to know
  • Melbourne based artist Anne Middleton has taken out the 2018 Archibald Prize ANZ People's Choice Award
  • Her portrait of actor Guy Pearce was the artists' first major formal portrait.
  • More than 20,000 people cast their votes for the award

Anne Middleton was lucky enough to gaze deeply into actor Guy Pearce's eyes for hours at a time.

But many would say he was even luckier.artart

It resulted in stunning portrait that also captured the publics’ heart and on Wednesday won the 2018 Archibald Prize ANZ People's Choice Award.

"This was my first major formal portrait and I loved the whole creative process of meeting with Guy and painting him how I saw him," she said in accepting her award.

"I was struck by his warmth and empathy his keen intelligence and his honesty.

"To me the whole experience of painting him was wonderful.

"A big part of any meaningful portrait, to me, is understanding the internal motivations and the internal conflicts that shape a person, shape their lives.

"The eyes say it all and Guy Pearce's extraordinary gaze intrigues me. I loved painting you Guy."

The Melbourne artist is reknowned for her botanical paintings but now says she has been inspired to do a major new series of portraiture work.

But she's keeping it close to her chest who her next subjects would be.

The actor has been asked many times to sit for the Archibald's but this was the first time he agreed to do so.

He sent his warmest congratulations to Anne from Amersterdam.

"As an artist it's particularly gratifying to know my portrait resonated with so many people," Middleton said.

"I feel so honoured to take home the People's Choice Award, thankyou to everyone who connected with my painting of Guy and who voted for me."

This year more than 20 thousand people cast their votes and more than half left comments as well.