A reclusive artist, known only to a small group of insiders in the art world, became bookies' favourite for the Turner Prize today when it was announced that his ground-breaking piece "The Duchess of York's Life" has been admitted as late entry for this year's competition. The artist, who likes to be known simply as 'God', refused to comment on the work, which has thrilled and appalled art critics in equal measure.
Brian Sewell has been harshest: "This piece lacks any credibility whatsoever, a grotesque fantasy. Does he really think anyone could ever be like this ghastly woman?"
But Waldemar Januszczak, like many, was enthralled: "Yes, it's phantasmagorical, yes it's absurd and impossible, but the sheer ambition is what grabs me. With his 'Duchess of York', God's exploring fascinating territories here around the ideas of stupidity, inherited privilege and greed, which are so relevant to 2010. The crowds are going to flock in."