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Lucian Freud: The Landscapes

Lucian Freud, The Painter Surprised by a Naked Admirer 2004-05 oil on canvas

I know Freud will be described as the leading exponent of realist portraiture as the media pay tribute to his work in the light of his death, but if you look at his output, and some don’t really like to because much of his work requires bravery and honesty in the viewer, you may see what I do.

I see folds and shadows, valleys and mountains of flesh. I see rivers of veins in moonlight, bands of coloured estuarine sands in the sun giving way to dark deltas. And I have glimpses of the subjects’ inner landscapes as the eye is challenged to look, yes look, at demanding mounds of unruly skin eons away from the bland aesthetic of current consumer culture and I am forced to feel something, and to think.

Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmund Freud, and brother of Clement, shared with his grandfather the ability to offer a representation of people’s minds, and with his brother he shared a love of The Lowlife: dogs, horses and gamblings. His life was unconventional, hardly surprisingly.

To paint people in all their uncompromising truth and beauty, as he did, it is unlikely you would live as a satisfactorily domesticated subject with another for any great length of time.

Lucian Freud, Eli and David 2005-06 oil on canvas

Is Vice Nice?

Gambling, along with drinking, smoking, drug-taking and womanising, is deemed a vice by some.  So I thought I’d look up the meaning and found this from the

vice 1 (vs) n.

1.a. An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit.
b. A serious moral failing.
c. Wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption.
2. Sexual immorality, especially prostitution.
3. a. A slight personal failing; a foible: the vice of untidiness.
b. A flaw or imperfection; a defect.
4. A physical defect or weakness.
5. An undesirable habit, such as crib-biting, in a domestic animal.
I think gambling fits most of those definitions in various people’s minds, barring 2. unless you are creative and resourceful enough to combine wagering with getting jiggy which I certainly can rule myself out of.
I have two vices now; mild drinking which is a long-standing acquaintance of mine and regular gambling.  The latter probably costs me more than the former but if the two totals were added up over a lifetime I am not sure which would prove most expensive.  Not that that matters.  When you have a vice, fulfilling it is of primary importance, cost secondary.  I do not class a vice as an addiction either.  I could stop both my mild drinking and gambling but I choose not to because I find pleasure, relaxation, fun and companionship in both. 
However, I recognise definition 5. an undesirable habit, such as crib-biting in an animal.  A horse that cribs, essentially it grabs the stable door or fence with its teeth and repeats over and over, finds that the habit becomes somewhat debilitating as much as it is comforting.  Watching the markets fluctuate on Betfair is very much me crib-biting.  I know it is a waste of precious time but I find it mildly hypnotic…
However, providing one can keep some semblance of grip on reality, without vice I think the world would be a much drier place 🙂



Tubbs & Crockett - the original Vice Meisters

Tubbs & Crockett - the original Vice Meisters