Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beauty and art

Lucian Freud's painting of a nude woman sold this week for a record $33.6 million.

The painting is notable not only because of its auction price but because the woman featured in it is obese. We're not talking Rubenesque, either.

Yet "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" is a beautiful painting. In it we see vulnerability, the heaviness of life, a human being. She has a title, 'Benefits Supervisor,' but her nudity reminds us that we aren't defined by the titles we hold. We feel the weight of the breast she's cradling, the weight of what she carries every day. She sleeps, and maybe dreams. It's sad, sweet and raw.

I love art that's unexpected. Another favorite is Quenten Massys' "A Grotesque Old Woman" from the National Gallery in London.

Years of history classes never conveyed that humor existed in 1525. Art gives us discovery and truth.


Anonymous said...

Great description, Nikki. Seeing the painting did, indeed, elicit an interesting range of emotions. Fascinating to read about the woman who posed for it, too. I love your line, "I love art that's unexpected."


Purple Houses said...

Thanks, Candace! It's a great one for discussion.