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Professor painted for portrait exhibition

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Most of us are used to getting our picture taken with friends, not being painted by them.

But that is what happened to an Aberdeen University scientist, who has been immortalised by the brushstrokes of her friend, renowed artist Dorien van Diemen.

The portrait of the institution’s head of medical genetics, professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka, was created for an exhibition of the Dutch Portrait Group.

The theme is “smart”, which can be interpreted in any way by the artist.

Ms Van Diemen used to belong to the organisation before she moved to Aberdeenshire 14 years ago.

Her friend was delighted to be captured on canvas, and did not need to be persuaded.

“She came into my mind straightaway for the theme because she had recently become a professor, and was so happy about it,” she said.

“I chose to paint in the university chapel, because I wanted to reflect the history of the institution, but also look forward. It is the oldest part of the university and it gave me a great story to tell.”

The portrait was painted with two sittings in the King’s College Chapel, with Mrs Miedzybrodzka wearing her academic robes. Photographs were also taken for her friend to refer back to.

“It was really lovely of Dorien to ask if I would agree to have my portrait painted – it is very special,” she said.

“Most of the portraits of professors I know of are of men approaching retirement, so I’m pleased to be contributing to a different impression of academia today.”

The portrait will go on display at the university next year before it begins a tour of Europe.

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