Having his role of Joker in the film "The Dark Knight" being immortalized in the form of a toy doll by toy giants Mattel just one week after his funeral, Heath Ledger is next having the final portrait of him being put up as one contender for Australia's esteemed Archibald Prize. The Archibald Prize is regarded as the most important portraiture prize, and is the most prominent of all arts prizes, in Australia.
Heath's portrait, simply titled "Heath," was painted by his friend Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo at the late actor's family's Perth home in December. The portrait features three versions of Heath; one haunted-looking rendition in the center of the canvas flanked by two whispering figures on either side.
"The whispering, the voices, the frustration or something comical - they [represent] different ways that we might be thinking in our own mind," Fantauzzo was quoted by Australia's Daily Telegraph as talking about his work.
Fantauzzo furthermore revealed that he and Heath collaborated on the concept together with the movie star sat for the portrait and even signed a form to vouch for its authenticity and qualify the piece for an Archibald Prize. "He signed it in the wrong spot," Fantauzzo recalled, adding "I just didn't believe it. When you paint someone, you meditate over them. I was painting Heath every day for 10 hours a day."
The Archibald Prize will be announced on March 7 later this year. There have been 249 portraits entered in the contest so far.