One of my favorite artists Lucian Freud died yesterday – aged 88. Freud, grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and brother to comedian Clement was born in Berlin 1922, moved to Brittain 1933 and became a British subject in 1939 . His paintings have two distinct styles, the earlier ones have a more smoother surface, created with thin layers of paint, whilst the later show a more textural impastod rendition of the flesh.
Freud’s paintings celebrate flesh – in all its lumpiness and glory. His work is sometimes can discribed as disturbing, but Freud has never sacrificed honesty for flattery. The Queen’s portrait which he painted in 2002 caused a lot of controversy – some said he should have been sent to the tower for it 🙂 I think it’s absolutely wonderful as it depicts the Queen as human and ageing, and definitely not in the flattering and pandering spirit in which most court painters throughout history have painted their monarch. The jewels on her crown look ghostly and somewhat garish a reminder of another age (and empire) and the Queen herself looks a little put out at having her portrait painted at all.
Freud, along with Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach explored the human condition through paint. His thickly applied use of impasto makes the work very tactile. Most of the people he painted were family or people he knew-
“I paint people,not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.”
Freud has been called the foremost figurative artist of his generation. He painted on until the end of his life. He continued with figurative painting even when Abstract became more popular. Freud is believed to have used Cremnitz white for his basic flesh pigment (according to critic Robert Hughes. Apparently it is a very heavy pigment and contains twice as much of the lead oxide than flake white and a lot less oil medium than other whites.
More info about this here
Queen image from here
There’s a new post over on my BOOKSTAINS (about time too!)