Freud Exhibition 2019

Freud at the RA

Friends Jane, Rosie and I embarked on our annual exhibition binge in London, this time taking on Lucian Freud at the RA. I had never been to the RA before (disgraceful), so was very excited about even setting foot in the building, let alone seeing the artwork on display.

I have to admit, seeing the Freud exhibition made me feel about as uneasy as I might if I were caught reading a friend’s medical records. It was, in the most part, brutally honest, forensic painting, without any effort to flatter the sitter (mostly Freud). It isn’t often that I catch myself asking what I think painting should be about, but I think that while Freud’s talent is exceptional, his motivation was far removed from my own, and I guess this is what made this exhibition so interesting to me. Did he like women? Did he like people? How had fleeing Nazi Germany affected his young mind? In the words of Marty from ‘Back to the Future’, “Man, this is heavy”.

To lighten the mood, we dropped in to see the small Dame Laura Knight exhibition. This is art that I can relate to – a celebration of life, beauty and personality. Perhaps art can do nothing to avoid giving us a glimpse of the artist’s frame of mind and outlook on life. How we can all choose how to portray ourselves and others, and whether we care or not how this is received.

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