Lucien Freud – naked, bruised and great.

Lucien Freud, who has just died, liked to look things straight in the eye. I love the story behind his Self Portrait With Black Eye. He, being an old bruiser at heart, had had a disagreement with a taxi driver who then punched him in the face giving him a rapidly developing black eye. Instead of making a fuss, Freud rushed to his studio and painted his injured face. “The freshness of my black eye presents too good an opportunity to paint myself in this condition.” He was a blogger at heart.

He certainly saw the human body with all its little, or big, flaws and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest of all painters of the nude adding to the genre all the neurosis and phychological depth that you would expect from Siegmund Freud’s grandson. Are they nudes though? Or portraits of very naked people? I was taught once that nude and naked were very different in art. If they are then naked is just fine by me. We should fork out a few millions and buy one of them to hang in the bathroom instead of that depressingly honest bathroom mirror. Lucien Freud, with his self portraits and with his breath-takingly dramatic pictures of others, really, in my humble opinion, celebrated humanity and will always be there as an anti-dote to soft porn…and if we are to have realistic paintings in modern art, let them be really really real.

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