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5 Reasons We Why Love Lucian Freud

Posted on September 13 2016


The Portraitist: Here are 5 reasons why we love Lucian Freud


He challenged the conventional definition of female beauty

The ‘nude’ has been a recurring subject matter in art since the Ancient Greeks chiselled the first marble six pack. Female nudes, in particular, have always been considered beautiful; galleries and museums worldwide contain paintings of women in various elegant and demure positions, tastefully covering their modesty. Freud challenged this ‘perfect’ representation of women, choosing to paint them ‘warts n all’.


His Impasto painting style

Impasto is a painting method that uses thick layers/strokes of paint to create an image. Famously used by the likes of Van Gogh during the post-impressionist period, this traditional technique died out to make way for more contemporary approaches to painting, due to changes in style and the introduction of new paint products, such as acrylic and gouache. However, Freud revived the technique in his later career, as the method allowed him to create fleshy textures with the paint.

“I want the paint to feel like flesh”


His Relationship with his Subjects

Freud’s paintings are considered to be autobiographical as he only chose to paint people he liked and who were involved in his life. However, he made just one exception, painting Bernaud Breslauer, whom he greatly disliked. Because of this animosity between them, Freud painted him to look “even more repulsive than he actually was”. Ouch.


His Subject’s Expressions

The Gormless expressions of each individual makes Freud’s paintings even more fascinating. With similar intrigue to the Mona Lisa, their sallow faces are quite captivating, making us want to investigate and know more about them. How do they know the artist? What they are they thinking about? What were they and Freud talking about when this portrait was made?


His Colours

You will notice that Freud chose to paint his portraits with sallow, yellow/green tones. Although you could argue that his subjects appear ill, Freud had his reasons. He claimed, "I don't want any colour to be noticeable... I don't want it to operate in the modernist sense as colour, something independent... Full, saturated colours have an emotional significance I want to avoid."



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