I’m captivated by photographs of Lucian Freud. Over the last year or so, pictures of him posing with animals keep catching my eye – one of him in 2010 soon before he died clutching a fox to his chest on the cover of the FT Weekend Magazine, and then another of him (from the same article) leading a horse. I felt compelled to cut out both and post them on my inspiration wall. More recently I spotted a photo of him in the catalogue for the National Portrait Gallery – it’s from much earlier in his life – 1947 – and in it he is gently holding a pet sparrowhawk. In each picture, his ease with and tenderness towards animals is apparent, and the resulting images are profoundly moving.
So I dug further on the internet and found a wealth of inspiring photographs of Lucian Freud, the man. In his youth I am struck primarily by his good looks. What a handsome guy. He appears intense, but comfortable enough in his own skin. His clothes are good too, but overshadowed at this point by his looks. Later on, as his face is more intense, haggard even, it is then that I really notice his clothes – the ever-present scarf, the denim shirt, the slightly rumpled jacket, the belt fastened over the loops – all to an elegant but effortless effect. What a character.