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Turner: A Painter of Light

Rain, Steam, Speed - oil on canvas 1844

A Turner painting is like a vague childhood memory, a romantic pre-cursor to the impressionist period of youth which is, in its turn, seen off by the hard edges of distracted abstraction in middle age.

The original work hangs in the National Gallery, London.

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