The Easel

12th November 2019

The Muse at Her Easel

Superb writing. The artist’s muse – art topic or relationship topic … or both? Celia Paul, a celebrated artist, has written about her relationship with Lucien Freud. The heart of her narrative is the competing demands of a relationship versus her own art. Conventional views of the muse as victim don’t, in this case, suffice. What is clear, as another of Freud’s lovers put it, is that “selfishness is what it takes to make great art”.

5th November 2019

Of pain and poetry: how Francis Bacon drew inspiration from Greek drama and TS Eliot

A “stupendous” exhibition. Bacon felt he deserved to be Picasso’s equal. A 1971 exhibition in Paris had hugely elevated his international reputation. Where to from there? Unhappy in his personal life, Bacon wanted to express “the vulnerability of the human situation”. And he did, in visceral, confronting terms. Little surprise that a favourite quotation of this most “pitiless” artist was “the reek of human blood smiles out at me”.