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Kym Bonython

'The man and his cap'

Former National Portrait Gallery Director, Andrew Sayers, describes John Brack's portrait of Kym Bonython.

Interview with Andrew Sayers
Video: 2 minutes

Andrew Sayers:  Kym Bonython’s life was very rich and interesting, and one of the things that he is particularly well-known for is his love of car racing. He thought that the best way to really portray himself was with his racing cap, and John Brack the artist didn’t really want to include it in the painting. He’d already worked out the composition very carefully, but some years later presented Kym Bonython with a small panel, which is just a picture of the racing cap. And that really I guess represents the driving passion in Kym Bonython’s life.

One of the things that often happens in portraits is that artists try to introduce into the work something that tells you about the person – what their interests are, what their career’s been, what their life is about, where their real passion lies. So not only do we have a portrait in the traditional sense, but also a portrait which represents something of the attributes of the person represented.