Red Saunders, The Agreement, 2015 C-type print on diabond in tray frame 76.2 x 101.6 cm 30 x 40 in. Edition of 10

Whether you are 18, 28 or even 98, you can apply for London’s sparkling Young Masters Art Prize.

Now in its fourth edition, the Young Masters Art Prize is a non-profit initiative which provides an international platform for unknown artists. The term ‘young’ means contemporary art; we are looking for artists with fresh ideas and abilities that have been developed in response to our drastically changeable, technological world.

In contrast, the ‘masters’ element is a reference to art history; homage to the skills and innovations of the Old Masters whether it’s Uccello for linear perspective, Leonardo Da Vinci for subtle smiles or Caravaggio for chiaroscuro. Looking back to innovations of the past, these artists can choose to expand on those techniques and develop them further in the name of contemporary art. This interconnection between art history and contemporary art is the foundation of the Prize; looking back to the art of the past in order to inform and forge the art of the future.

Cynthia Corbett, Gallerist and founder of the Young Masters Art Prize speaking on BBC Radio London explains: ‘the prize is about celebrating art history in a contemporary way and it occurred to me that Old Masters is a readily identifiable term and I thought well, I’ll just say Young Masters– fresh, alive, contemporary.’

Art has always been a visual response to the times, from Stone Age cave painting to the revival of Classicism in the Renaissance to elaborate Baroque or the 1990’s pioneers of the Young British Artists group. Art evolves to meet and explain the times we live in and so in an age of Brexit and Trump, what is next for Art? Welcome to our new post liberal reality: the Brenaissance!

As Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry says: “I love it when something comes along and makes me think ‘Wow that’s a bit shocking’. That’s what creativity is. We can’t keep on peddling our same old comfortable ideas and preach to the already converted. No, let’s go out there and genuinely engage with the majority of the population.”

Art and artists help us grow and grow up. Here at the Young Masters Art Prize we relish the challenge.

by Ella Swinson Reid