The Endless Unknown


  In his work Lucian Freud conveys incredible emotional depth and complexity.  It should surprise no one that he is the grandson of Sigmund Freud and furthermore, for me, his oeuvre proves that the founder of psychoanalysis was on to something no matter what modern critics might say. 

  (L) Freud has said that: “Quality in art is inextricably bound up with emotional honesty”, which is not to say transparency.  He goes on: “The advantage of taking so long is that it allows me to include more than one expression”.  Ya  There’s a lot going on in the mind of the fellow above and it would take a lifetime of analysis or a lobotomy for any hope of eventual serenity.

  It is difficult to leave the gaze of a Freud subject such as the one above without, first, feeling the rumble of one’s own complexes.  The title of the picture above conveys this sense perfectly: “Reflection”.  Then, as you walk away, you realize that the frame of reference is much larger and you wonder about universal truths.

  Are there any?  I’ll bet that Freud would not be surprised to learn that recent research indicates that the laws of physics might not be consistent across the whole of our universe.  Or that some think that the human mind has reached its capacity for understanding the cosmos.  For the time being anyway.

  Juxtaposed with cave paintings or ancient petroglyphs carved into rock, Freud’s art embodies a sense of the degree to which consciousness has evolved thus far.  Oh, for a take some 10,000 years hence.  Try to imagine a state of mind holding an image of Freud in the same regard as we do not an ancient stick figure!

*The quotes have been drawn from an article in the 9/25/10 Economist.  Where else?

**The bit was a review of a new book I can’t wait to read: Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud.  The author, Martin Gayford calls Freud “omnivorous” in his search for “weight, texture and irreducible uniqueness of what he sees”.  I know the feeling.  See 1/31/09 and 4/10/09 below.

***Interestingly, just as a face or the representation of one can project outwardly with great force, so can inwardly a simple facial tactile experience.  The relative density of neuronal connections on a face is huge.  A recent experiment showed that continuous tweaking of just one whisker on the muzzle of rat stroke victim was enough to stimulate sufficient redirected blood flow to alleviate major damage.  WSJ 7/27/10

****Cartoon from the NYT


One Response to “The Endless Unknown”

  1. gebarr Says:

    Emotional depth it seems is a greater courage than the average are capable of. And then there are the crippled. How lucky some are.

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