Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lucian Freud

Portrait of John Minton by Lucian Freud
‘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’
 -Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud was a German born, British painter known for his thickly impastoed portraits and figure paintings. He was also the grandson of Sigmund Freud. His works are noted for their psychological penetration, probably due to his grandfather's influence, and for their often discomforting examination of the relationship between the artist and model. To model for Freud meant to spend a great deal of time with the artist, especially in his later years: a nude completed in 2007 required sixteen months of work, during which the model had only four evenings off. It is this extensive time spent alone with the model that helps Freud's paintings stand out, allowing him to focus more on the character of the portrait than the drawing or paint handling. Many of his portraits bring out the models individuality. Art critic Martin Gayford noted in his book Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait with Lucian Freud, that the portrait Freud did of him seemed to "reveal secrets—ageing, ugliness, faults—that I imagine...I am hiding from the world..." Gayford also commented on Freud's sharp, penetrating and "omnivorous" gaze. Freud often painted people in his life; friends, family, lovers and fellow painters alike. "The subject matter is autobiographical" Freud said, "it's all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really."  Freud's painting of fellow painter John Minton is notable for the 'psychological penetration' present in Freud's works and really  illustrates the connection he had with those who modeled for him. The face radiates regret and the eyes seem deeply unhappy. Minton committed suicide five years after the completion of the portrait; a real testament to Freud's ability to capture the true character and emotions of his models.


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