Lucian Freud: Changing The Way We Look At Portraits

Posted on February 18th, 2021 11:05 AM

The grandson of psychologist Sigmund Freud & the son of the architect Ernst Freud was one of the renowned figurative painters of the 20th century. Influenced by a group from the Slade School with cubism & expressionism style: He  Usually sat on a piece for 6 to 12 months; the artist then decided not to sit & draw because it made him agitated. Freud observed his practice: “The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes and, ironically, the more real.” The natural element of the artist has come out innate as he used to draw his friends, neighbors using a tonal range of creamy tans & browns; painting portraits of around 160 people in his life. 
Evoking the paintings of the northern renaissance; his painting style had changed over time from making small precise strokes to using a thick, coarse brush made from hogs hair. He used to mix every single color; he would never use the tube directly. As seen in his paintings, every color blended uniquely in his own original style. The concept of his portraits reveals an altogether disclosure: not making beautiful figures but fat bodies; queer bodies; lifeless bodies. Artist Antony Gormley described Freud’s practice as a “resilient exploration as a witness to those around him and to his own existence.” Creating reality out of strangeness was his niche. His hands pierced perfectly into the deviation of the brushstrokes; engulfing every detail and movement he could see in a body. 
Starting the strokes from inside out; he mentioned that the most difficult paintings were his self-portraits which took more time than others because of the various psychoanalysis related to oneself. The metamorphosis of Bacon’s life kept on changing & growing with his close friends like Francis bacon; when he made a portrait of him which got stolen in Berlin in 1988. He always wanted to live a private life; which did not happen at all. He became famous for his works and whatever money he got from his paintings he would put it in gambling. Having his name in the field of art, and his private life inadequate. It created a lot of controversy for the artist who came to be known as the distinguished portraitist of the 20th century.
Lucian Freud painting a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (2001)
Credits: Google Images
Title: Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995)
Model Sue Tilley posing in front of her portrait. 
Credits: Google Images
Reflection: Self-Portrait (1985)
Credits: Google Images

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