The Painter's Mother

One of Lucian Freud's greatest skills is his ability to make the viewer confront the truth in their bodies and surroundings. His paintings often truly depict the human form in a way that makes one contemplate life, time, and age, but in a beautiful way. Often times ideas about death in modern culture and society are shrouded in fear and anxiety, but this painting contributes to a different perspective. In this portrait by Freud we see his mother laying across a bed staring at some point in the distance. We see her in a very clean white dress and shirt in a simple environment. She is depicted with extreme detail in her hands and her face which shows to us the real value of her age. There is a very deep and powerful sense that she is contemplating something. It seems that she could be facing death, but in an accepting way. She is shrouded in white and is at rest. There is truly nothing dark or scary about this composition; it even feels calming. This painting puts before us an elderly woman in perhaps a weak and vulnerable moment, but she still evokes respect. That is the power of Freud's art. He displays beauty and power in moments that we might not turn to for such emotions.

-RS

The Painter's Mother, Lucian Freud, ca. 1982-84, 50 x 142 in, oil on canvas

The Painter's Mother, Lucian Freud, ca. 1982-84, 50 x 142 in, oil on canvas