*Accepted Paper*

**Inserted:** 9 jan 2018

**Last Updated:** 9 jan 2018

**Journal:** ESAIM Control Optim. Calc. Var.

**Year:** 2018

**Abstract:**

We study the minimization of convex, variational integrals of linear growth among all functions in the Sobolev space $W^{1,1}$ with prescribed boundary values (or its equivalent formulation as a boundary value problem for a degenerately elliptic Euler--Lagrange equation). Due to insufficient compactness properties of these Dirichlet classes, the existence of solutions does not follow in a standard way by the direct method in the calculus of variations and in fact might fail, as it is well-known already for the non-parametric minimal surface problem. Assuming radial structure, we establish a necessary and sufficient condition on the integrand such that the Dirichlet problem is in general solvable, in the sense that a Lipschitz solution exists for any regular domain and all prescribed regular boundary values, via the construction of appropriate barrier functions in the tradition of Serrin's paper 19.