January 27, 2014 Repository 119: Bon Mots | Lucien Freud on the Ultimate Aim of Art Posted In: bon mots, perspective

unfinished 'Portrait of the Hound,' 2011. courtesy of Lucien Freud / National Portrait Archive.

Unfinished ‘Portrait of the Hound,’ 2011. courtesy of Lucien Freud / National Portrait Archive

“I assure you that I do not paint the world in desolate colors for my own pleasure, after all I can not change my eyes. As for my lack of convictions, I am only too full of convictions. I burn with suppressed anger and indignation, but my ideal of art demands that the artist shows none of this and that he appears in his work no more than god in nature. For the man is nothing the work is everything.

I think that the greatest characteristics of genius is above all energy. Hence what I detest most of all in the arts, what sets me on edge is the ingenious, the clever. This is not at all the same thing as bad taste, which is a good quality gone wrong. In order to have what is called bad taste you must first have a sense of poetry. Whereas cleverness is incompatible with genuine poetry. What seems to me is the most highest, the most difficult achievement of art is not to make us laugh or cry, or inspire our lust, but to do as nature does, that is fill us with wonderment. The most beautiful works have indeed this quality. They are surreal in aspect, incomprehensible.” – Lucien Freud

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