The Egyptian Book

Lucian Freud British, born Germany
Published by Matthew Marks Gallery at Studio Prints British
Printed by Marc Balakjian British

Not on view

Freud was drawn to Egyptian sculpture made during the reign of Akhenaten (1353–1336 b.c.), who decreed that the visual arts should move toward naturalism and away from hieratic representation. This etching shows photographs from J. H. Breasted’s Geschichte Aegyptens (History of Egypt, 1936). The two sculpted heads were discovered in the workshop of Thutmose, the pharaoh’s chief sculptor, during an early twentieth-century excavation of Tell el-Amarna. Freud received a copy of the book in 1939 when he was sixteen and newly enrolled in art school. He featured his prized possession, with its worn binding and creased pages, opened to the two sculptures, in numerous works and staged in locations and poses normally occupied by models, such as flat on a bed or upright in an old leather chair.

The Egyptian Book, Lucian Freud (British (born Germany), Berlin 1922–2011 London), Etching

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