A poll to determine the single artwork that best encapsulates British identity has rated Banksy's image of kissing policemen number one.
The results show an overall predilection for modern and conceptual art amongst the 1000 British artists who were quizzed, with Antony Gormley's Angel of the North (1998) coming second.
Third in the poll, conducted by The Other Art Fair which runs for four days on the 10 May, was Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) by Lucian Freud.
That quintessential Turner prize headline grabber, Tracy Emin's unmade bed (My Bed, 1998) came fourth, while Jamie Reid's God Save the Queen, the artwork from the 1977 Sex Pistol single of the same name, completed the top five.
Top ten artwork that represents our national heritage:
- Kissing Policemen, Banksy
- Angel Of The North, Antony Gormley
- Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud
- My Bed, Tracey Emin
- God Save the Queen, Jamie Reid
- The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, Damien Hirst
- The Fighting Temeraire, Turner
- Woldgate Woods, David Hockney
- Black Triptych, Francis Bacon
- The Hay Wain, Constable
Banksy will seem an unusual choice for art traditionalists who would no doubt prefer to see the great landscape artists top the list, rather than a man who stencils walls in the middle of the night.
But then the kissing policemen do see to embody many of the finer element of our national character, from tolerance to a cheeky sense of humour to healthy skepticism of authority.
The irony is that, although they were originally sprayed onto the side of a pub in Brighton, the kissing policemen were shipped off to America to be sold in 2011 after members of the British public repeatedly tried to spoil them with graffiti.
A recent Banksy tribute saw a photographer recreate his best-known pieces using live models. See the pics:
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