The winning work was selected from 2,667 entries from 88 countries. A panel of judges, including journalist Rosie Millard and artist Glenn Brown, anonymously selected the winning works.
First prize went to the London-based artist, Miriam Escofet, for An Angel at my Table, a portrait of her mother drinking tea.
After receiving her prize, Miriam Escofet said, “I think the Portrait Award has become one of the major art competitions globally so it’s an incredible honour.”
“Art historically has survived through patronage,” Escofet said. “Historically the church was the major patron of the arts, but nowadays the equivalent of that would be businesses.”
Second place went to the American painter, Felicia Forte, for Time Traveller, Matthew Napping, depicting her boyfriend Matthew asleep in bed.
Chinese artist, Zhu Tongyao, won third place for Simone his portrait of his neighbours’ child from his time staying in Florence.
The BP Young Artist Award, which goes to an entrant aged between 18 and 30, was won by Suffolk-based artist Ania Hobson for A Portrait of two Female Painters, depicting the artist with her sister in law.
The awards were presented by Lily Cole - an actor, model, entrepreneur and campaigner – at the National Portrait Gallery, where the works will be displayed until September 2018. Later this year, the exhibition will begin a UK tour, going on display in Wolverhampton, Edinburgh and Winchester.
BP group chief executive Bob Dudley, who introduced the awards, explained why BP continued its sponsorship.
“BP wants to help bring more people closer to the very best of arts and culture,” Dudley said. “And as a UK company, we want to continue contributing to Britain’s social fabric – of which arts and culture is an important element.”