Archive for July, 2011

Poor traits

July 26, 2011

Lucian Freud, the portraitist, died last week. Coincidentally, during its recent annual retreat, the High Editorial Board of Doomspirals listened to an stimulating discussion concerning the philosophy of portraits; a discussion that included praise for Lucian Freud’s frank & uncompromising representations of the human subject.

Starting point of the discussion, by author Cynthia Freeland: “When I began thinking about portraiture I thought I would look at what philosophers have said, and I was surprised to find virtually nothing. It does surprise me because philosophers, in thinking about the person and the self, have often looked at novelists and writers, and I thought, well why wouldn’t they take a visual artist seriously? Because presumably somebody like Rembrandt, who’s done so many serious portraits including some of his wives and of himself… doesn’t he have some kind of insight into human nature? And also, artists are dealing very directly with an age-old philosophical issue, which is the mind/body relationship, because they are trying to make the person come alive in a physical realization when they [present] a painting or a photograph.”

Top two, Mr Freud; bottom two, by Mr Freud. Click for bigger.