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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 11:22 GMT
Prince Charles wins art award
Prince Charles
Prince Charles: Personal concern for contemporary artists
The Prince of Wales' paintings have earned him a special art award from one of the most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions in the world.

The Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art is showing 20 lithographs of the prince's watercolours, which have made a special contribution to the "life and spirit" of the show, according to organisers.

The paintings mainly depict the prince's country estates, and are some of the main attractions for the 40,000 people who are expected to attend the 10-day event.

The prince has long been a keen painter, and sales of his works at one London gallery have raised more than 3m for charity over the last 10 years.

'Appreciated'

"He is not in the normal competition of the 630 artists in the Biennale," said Professor John Spike, exhibition director and a member of the judging panel of international art critics.

"His prints represent a show within the show. They have their own section very near the front of the entrance and are very much appreciated by those walking in."

The prince has "enriched" the Biennale and shown personal concern for contemporary artists who need all the recognition they can get, Prof Spike said.

'Celebrating diversity'

The 10-day Biennale will end on 16 December and is showing 3,000 works by artists from 52 countries.

"The exhibition is dedicated towards celebrating cultural diversity and promoting tolerance amongst artists of different nations as opposed to the other model of Biennale exhibition which is intended to excite or appael," Prof Spike said.

The prince took up painting in the mid-1980s because he felt an "overwhelming urge" to express what he saw with watercolours - but has said that he does not think his paintings are much good.

Art critic Brian Sewell once described the prince's works as "old fashioned" and "painted by somebody who knows techniques and draws quite precisely" when asked to judge them without being told by whom they were painted.

See also:

31 Oct 01 | Education
Prince criticises art education
30 Oct 01 | Arts
Royal opening for Tate Britain
28 Sep 01 | England
Royal cheese scoops two prizes
12 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Prince of palettes
16 Jul 98 | South Asia
Prince's art helps child prostitutes
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