20th Century Literature

Week 6: Manifesto & Modernism

2. Write a BLOG TOPIC that records the work in the gallery that left the deepest impression on you. Can you describe the work in detail and say why it left that impression on you?

Lucian Freud’s ‘And The Bridegroom’, oil on canvas, 1993

During our visit to the Art Gallery of NSW, the artwork that left the deepest impression on me was Lucian Freud’s ‘And the bridegroom’. Freud states “I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be”.

In this painting, we can see two people that the blurb states are Leigh Bowery and Nicola Bateman. The blurb also tells us that Bowery is a performance artist and Bateman is his collaborator, seamstress and later also became his wife, but this is the extent of information we are given in regards to who these people are and what they are like.

Instead, we are able to focus entirely on how they happen to be in this moment in 1993, when the painting was created.

The couple sleep peacefully, looking comfortable with one another as they sleep nude, side by side. While she slightly leans back against him with her feet on his leg, we get the feeling that not only is there some kind of love towards one another but there is also some form of intimacy between them. The image seems so natural and realistic that it does not come across as posed, but rather as a couple in their natural state. As a result of this, especially when combined with the nakedness and intimacy portrayed in the painting, we feel as though we are intruding.


Featured Image Source: http://www.armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/manifesto


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