Friday, January 11, 2013

God Save the The Queen

Further to this whole Kate Middleton thing ...

It should be noted that I have my photograph taken quite a bit, and I came to the conclusion quite a while ago that I am a lot better off if I don't smile.  I stare right into the lens, as intensely as I can, albeit in a pleasant way, and I let the chips fall where they may.  But I stopped smiling -- even when they say "smile, please" -- a long time ago.

Lucian Freud painted this of Queen Elizabeth II ...

She obviously has the same philosophy I do.

I like the Queen's painting better than the what Paul Emsley (a man who, I fear, is going to live in infamy for a while) managed with Kate.  Now I'm the first guy in the world to admit that paintings look completely different in the flesh than they do in photographs.  First-hand experience has left me utterly amazed in some cases.  So I don't want to throw stones at poor Emsley.  But I have by now seen several photos of the same painting and there's a dryness to her skin that is troubling.  "Sepulchral" was a word one critic used.  She looks muted to me.  Muted in the same way television people sometimes look after they come off the set, still covered with pancake.  On some level, I can understand the idea behind the effort (to give her a regal, restrained presence rather than popping out the front of the canvas) and can imagine a circumstance in which that muting comes off in a wonderful way in the flesh.  But I'm not convinced.

And there is no doubt he put quite a honker on her, didn't he?  I think he deserves a bit of shit for that alone.

Fun note:  the painting of The Queen is only 6"x9".

Other fun note:  it wasn't commissioned; Freud just whacked it out as a gift to the queen (admittedly, with her permission).  Since Freud is one of the most famous painters of our time, it's not surprising that it came out like it did.  Truth be told, I like it.  Or at least I like the face.  I'm less moved by the hair and crown.

It should be noted that I'd cut all my fingers and toes off to be able to paint as well as my boy Lucian.  This is possibly the greatest painting to come out of England since ... since ... well since I don't know when.  I'm gonna think about that.  Titled "Benefits Supervisor (sleeping)", it's proof that truth is beauty ...

And all a guy needs, at least according to Bono, is a red guitar, three chords and the truth.

Me?  I should just bang out a painting of the Duchess and send it along by parcel post.  One theory says I should do this tonight, in lieu of watching the Knicks game.  They are, according to, getting obliterated by Chicago.

The Knicks, my friends, are facing their first major crisis of the year.  It will be interesting to see how they respond.  The coach is strong, though.  And I'm optimistic.

Update:  I can think of a Francis Bacon self-portrait, a triptych or two of George Dyer and a  "Screaming Pope" painting that rival "Benefits supervisor sleeping" for greatest-painting-coming-out-of-England-since-I-don't-know-when honors.  I'm also fond of Jenny Saville, although she's still playing triple-A when compared to these guys.


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