One of Britain's leading realist painters, Freud created compositions that often reveal the humanity of his subjects while vividly depicting their physical presence. The sitter for this picture, Leigh Bowery, was an Australian performance artist in London and one of Freud's favorite models. Ironically, although Bowery was known for his outlandish costumes and makeup, Freud recorded him here unclothed, squatting ponderously on a low, wide stool in the artist's studio. The terrain of his fleshy, mountainous back is almost sculpted by the artist's thick application of paint. In essence, this is not a traditional portrait, but a still life of skin.
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