Painting the Discomfort. Madrid, Freud on stage at Thyssen-Bornemisza

March 19, 2023

On view 50 artworks that represent his different artistic stages

One hundred years have passed since the birth of Lucian Freud, Sigmund’s nephew, and only eleven years after death, but his painting charm continues to shake the soul of the contemporary man. The Thyssen- Bornemisza celebrates him with a retrospective including fifty artworks that represent his different artistic stages. From the first artworks to intimate portraits to nudes, the dramatic matrix of the flesh represented in its raw and narrative aspects permeates the subject’s corpus exhibited in their mortality. He was Jew, born in Berlin, arrived in London in 1933 after Hitler came to power; in a cultural atmosphere anxious to take a step back from the academicism, he expresses interest in aesthetics attending english design and painting schools - as the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the East Anglican School of Drawing and Painting - in the dawn of a journey that will shape one of the most recognized artistic phenomenon in post-war Europe. The oneiric Realism, influenced by surrealism in his first works, will give way to a strong stylistic shift towards  naturalism, closer to expressionism. The production is full of references: Rembrandt, Cézanne, Velázquez, Watteau, Rodin are just a few.


His friendship with Francis Bacon is a crucial aspect in the pictorial dialogue development between the two artists that will tackle topics, offering two revolutionary instances of controversial and deep creative vision in the 1900s. Meticulous observer, Freud paints the physicality of the portrayed: the bluish- yellow skin, the veins and the abrasions of the aged faces, the eyelids reddened, the protruding bones, the deciduous and swollen body parts; He will give the same analysis to animals and environments, insisting with the brushstrokes on hair, nails, peeling and moldy walls, rusty and dripping taps, wilted leaves. The exploration of surfaces, enhanced by the color’s control, goes beyond in introspection and in discomfort, in the darkness, showing the dramatic character of the condition of modern man. The truth breaks on canvas and on the viewer’s experience with an uncomfortable and intrusive material, breaking with the traditional cult of beauty. “New perspectives” is the title of the show, curated by Paloma Alarcó. Until June 18th, it hosts emblematic artworks as The Painter’s room (1944), Girl with roses (1947-48) , Reflection with two children (Self-portrait) (1965), Double Portrait (1985-1986), David Hockney (2002).

The Author

42 Post

Freelance journalist and editorial assistant. From linguistic studies she bounces to those of engineering and arrives, through a process of kinetic liberation, to digital marketing. Performing at a gallery in Pietrasanta she meets the director of AW ArtMag in 2019 to which she binds professionally, combining the Stendhal syndrome for Boltanski to the excitment for editing. In the office, she is tête-à-tête with the PC. At home, she looks out of her window, thinking, writing and planning the next reportage.

Related articles

Related articles not found!

Latest Articles

Most Popular Today