Large Head is the third of four etchings that Lucian Freud made of Leigh Bowery, the Australian performance artist.

In this work his eyes are closed, as they are in a few small paintings of him. In many of his etchings Freud seems to find the form by gently casting a fine silken network of lines on to his subject. In this one he also seems to manually prod and model the form with what seems a wraith-like circulation of the air. The shoulder to the viewer's right has been presented in its sideways aspect and the arm made unnaturally large. It is intensely tactile, and here the rhythmic brushstrokes seem to have been mimicked by the needle's freely-hatched gossamer webs. It is, in a way, like a musical improvisation on the theme of Bowery's true likeness - including perhaps a phallic variation - but it is firmly attached to the great palpable reality of the model and his curious and compelling humanity.


Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Castle Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3JU
01603 493625
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Opening times

  • Monday to Saturday 10am-4.30pm
  • Sunday 1-4.30pm

(1 July – 23 September 2019 open until 5pm)

  • Closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January


Exhibitions at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

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