Niklas Elmehed from Sweden is the artist behind the Nobel Prize portraits that appear all over social media and on multiple news articles for roughly two weeks every year when the winners are announced in October. Elmehed has been working with the Nobel Prize Committee for the past eight years and the sketches of Nobel Laureates with gold highlights that you’ve been seeing all over your feed are his creations.
The Nobel Prize announcements and the ceremony in December this year has been scaled down owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, it hasn’t really felt any different with the social media handles of the Nobel Prize Committee keeping the world updated with all latest developments. Every prize announcement is accompanied by a stunning gold leafed sketches of the Laureates.
On Thursday, the Nobel Prize’s official Facebook page shared a photo of Elmehed painting the portraits of Chemistry Laureates. “Here Niklas is painting the portraits of our two new Chemistry Laureates, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna," the post reads.
According to a report in Popular Science, Elmehed is informed ahead of the winner announcements, although the artist couldn’t reveal when he gets to know about the year’s Laureates. He then paints the portraits within a tight deadline which are eventually mounted on a wall at the Nobel Media office in Stockholm.
In his interview with Popular Science, Elmehed said that the decision to switch to portraits was mainly because of the winners in science categories. Before Elmehed started working with the Committee in 2012, photos were mostly pulled off the internet. But it can be difficult to get photos of science Laureates on the web, explained the artist.
Here are some posts by Elmehed which show him hard at work:
The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December will be scaled back this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the head of the Nobel Institute said Tuesday.
The prize is traditionally presented to the laureate on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of prize founder Alfred Nobel. Unlike previous years, this year’s ceremony will not be held in the main room of Oslo’s City Hall, which can accomodate 1,000 guests, but in the auditorium of Oslo University, which can host around 100 people. The banquet usually held in honour of the laureate the same evening has meanwhile been cancelled outright.