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Time Magazine's Angela Merkel 'Person of the Year' cover features painting by Belfast artist Colin Davidson

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

Published 09/12/2015

Belfast artist Colin Davidson with his portrait of Angela Merkel
Belfast artist Colin Davidson with his portrait of Angela Merkel

A painting of Angela Merkel by Belfast artist Colin Davidson is gracing the front cover of Time Magazine after the German chancellor was revealed as its ‘Person of the Year’.

The internationally renowned artist shared the striking image with his online fans on Wednesday.

Davidson, originally from Belfast but now living in Crawfordsburn, told the Belfast Telegraph he received the request from Time just six weeks ago.

The 47-year-old usually tells a sitter one of his paintings will take six months.

“The creative director from Time, D.W. Pine contacted my agent in Dublin, Oliver Sears, with a request that he would like me to make a painting of the German chancellor for a forthcoming issue,” he explained.

“I didn’t know it was the cover until lunchtime.

“I thought it was maybe going to be used on the inside.”

Davidson’s work is celebrated the world over.

Educated at Methodist College and Ulster University’s art college, he as previously painted Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, the late poet laureate Seamus Heaney and a host of other famous faces, in his unique style.

Davidson said he was honoured that Time had seen his work and wanted him to make a painting for them.

This image obtained December 9, 2015 courtesy of TIME shows the cover for Person of the Year 2015. AFP/Getty Images
This image obtained December 9, 2015 courtesy of TIME shows the cover for Person of the Year 2015. AFP/Getty Images

“I was a little bit reluctant as all my portrait paintings to date have been meeting the person, sitting with them and getting to know them.

“With this I wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to meet the German chancellor but I did agree to it after I weighed it up - you don’t turn Time magazine down.”

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Angela Merkel named Time Magazine's Person of the Year

 

Time Magazine editor Nancy Gibbs cited Angela Merkel’s role in Europe’s crises over migration and Greek debt as reasons for her topping its 2015 list.

Ms Gibbs said Mrs Merkel had provided “steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply”.

“For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is ‘Time’s Person of the Year’,” she said.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named as the runner-up and third place went to controversial US presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Davidson worked from photography and film to create the portrait of Merkel which has received a “great response worldwide”.

“I studied her face, in-depth looking at film footage and photographs," he said.

“I also found myself going back into my archive of my sittings with others in my studio to look at the modelling, the three dimensionality of the head and how the light works with the face.

“Hopefully when all that research is brought together, hopefully, that is very much a painting of mine.”

Meanwhile, Davidson’s Silent Testimony exhibition is running at the Ulster Museum until January 17.

If features portraits of eighteen people who are connected by their individual experiences of loss through the conflict in Northern Ireland over the turbulent 30-year period in its history known as the Troubles.

It will then visit the Irish cultural centre’s gallery - Centre Culturel Irlandais - in Paris on January 28 until March. 

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