Artist: Lucian Freud
Freud’s Reflection with Two Children, composed in 1965, is a distorted self-portrait, created from the reflection Freud saw when looking down in a mirror he placed at his feet. The result is a strange, foreshortened perspective that has the quality of a spare interrogation room, with the single eye of the ceiling light lurking ominously overhead against the endless expanse of the blotched ceiling, and the expression of barely-patient disdain curling the inquisitor’s lips. Likewise distorted in size and placement are the two children - Freud’s son Ali and daughter Rose. They are, impossibly, in the foreground, yet so reduced in size, in contrast to the enormity of the image of Freud, as to seem like apparitions, or tokens. Real filial feeling seems to have been drained from the canvas and from the circumstances that propelled its creation. And we remain subordinated before the withering gaze of the artist, staring down at himself in the mirror and at us, and finding no pleasure in the view.