Portrait of Professor Jim Best unveiled

August 11 / 66

Family, friends and colleagues of Professor Jim Best joined him to watch the unveiling of his portrait at St Vincent’s Hospital last week. The portrait honours Professor Best’s contribution to and leadership of the University’s Department of Medicine at St Vincent’s.

At the unveiling ceremony, former heads of the department and Chair of Medicine and Head of Department Professor Mark Cook watched artist Vincent Fantauzzo reveal his work.  

Since 1957, Heads of the Department of Medicine at St Vincent’s have had their portraits painted by some of Australia’s finest painters. 

Professor Best said he was proud, but it having his portrait completed and added to the St Vincent’s collection was a very humbling experience.

“It was a very moving and proud moment to be placed alongside my teachers and mentors, all of whom contributed so much to St Vincent's Hospital and the University of Melbourne,” he said. 

Melbourne artist and recent winner of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (for his painting of director Baz Luhrman) Vincent Fantauzzo addressed the group and described the creative process that took more than four months.

Professor Best said he was delighted to meet Mr Fantauzzo and to learn about his life and career.

“Although we have very different backgrounds I think we connected and got to know each other well. I felt I was sitting with Vincent rather than sitting for him,” he said. 

The new work will share wall-space with paintings of past medical leaders by famous Australian artist and Melburnian Sir William Dargie.

Mr Fantauzzo won an artistic residency at St Vincent’s Hospital early in his career and since then has won national acclaim for his paintings, which have included portraits of the late Heath Ledger, celebrity chef Matt Moran and singer Tim Rogers. 


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