LUCIEN FREUD: Painting in Impasto Style, Self-portrait

Theme: Painting in Impasto Style, Paintings by Lucien Freud. Self Portraits by Master Painters.

After a near flop-show of the first exhibition of my paintings, I was believing myself at the end of my artistic efforts. The colours of my future in art-world looked of only one shade: the dark. The enthusiasm was at the bottom of Pacific Ocean. In those days I came across to the work by one master painter. It revived my faith in art, keeping the artistic flame burning. He was Lucian Freud.

lucien_freud-reflection, originally uploaded by Grupo Hotusa.
Here is a self-portrait by a master painter Lucien Freud. He is one of the great painters of our time and grand son of Sigmund Freud.


In these self-portraits Lucien had used his favorite 'Impasto' style of painting. When paints are thickly applied on canvas, with brush or a palate knife, it would create a unique kind of appearance and texture. This is called the impasto style of painting. Literally the word impasto means ‘mixture’. While working under this style of painting, an artist can negotiate a special relationship between the colours on canvas itself. Moreover the artists remain well aware about the distance from which that they, the artists, see the paintings and the viewers see, as the viewers would not to see the painting from such a closeness an artists is supposed to see it.

This painting technique is suitable when an artist is using oil paint. Oil paints are relatively thick and they take more drying time. Moreover impasto has created a new type of relationship between the hues of the colours and their physical thickness. In a broader sense, impasto technique is an advancement in the field of spatial discoveries, creating relationship with the artworks and the viewers' eyes. Many artists used this technique of applying colours in their acrylic paintings, too. But 'impasto' has one limitation. It cannot be used if an artist uses watercolor or tempera, as these colours are fairly thin in characteristics.

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Impasto is the method of putting the colours on canvass in a manner that it gives texture to a painting. It has its own advantages over the other styles. When an artist uses this as his or her style of painting, he or she has two unique intentions in mind. Firstly, the technique of impasto depicts the effects of light in a sophistic way. It enables an artist to have quantity of control over quality of the light and how to manage the reflections of light in a given painting. Secondly, it helps in adding a tint of expressiveness to painting. An art lover would recognize the artistic strength and speed in working of such an artist.

Lucian's paintings have become famous during his life time only. He is one of the most fortunate artists in this regard. As born in 1922, and pursuing his artistic career continuously, he owns a large collection of the paintings. At the height of his genius, he had painted women wearing no clothes. These paintings are regarded as her best creations.

THE TECHNIQUE: Under this technique, an artist would load colour on brush or palate knife, and the load would be more than normally an artist would do. The most important benefit of using impasto is that it converts a painting into a three dimensional state, gifting it with a sculptural look. The master artists like Rembrandt and Titian had used this energetic technique. Van Gogh had used this style to make his painting carrying artistic strength. He used it for displaying the utmost capacity of colours to recreate images which the artists would conceive in their minds.

In recent time, too, the master painters like Hans Hofmann and Willem De Kooning have extensively used this technique, making their paintings looking more aesthetic and meaningfully expressive in nature. In the above painting, the modern painter Lucian Freud had done his self-portrait in impasto style. This painting is one of the best examples of this method. Sometimes these artists apply the paint in such a big stock that the painting itself really look a sculpture made out of colours. These artists really want to explore the possibilities of creating maximum depth in their paintings. [Image courtesy By deflam (Flikr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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