Lucian Freud

France Culture -one of the French public radios I’ve listed in the Resources page- ran a very interesting show on British painter Lucian Freud. Born in Berlin, the grandson of Sigmund Freud acquired the British nationality almost as soon as his family migrated to London in 1933 when he was 12 years old.

The radio show Une vie, une oeuvre takes us on a journey through his life and work.

It features extracts of interviews with Lucian Freud from the BBC archives,  insights from David Dawson, his model and assistant during the last 2o years of his life, as well as  comments from French art historians. Parts of the show are in English, translated immediately after into French. It makes for a good comprehension exercise. Have a listen and don’t worry if you don’t understand absolutely everything. It might take a little while, but if you’ve learnt the essential grammar of French, you will soon relax into listening and understand more and more!

Here is some painting vocabulary to help you along:

  • Un peintre: a painter
  • Une oeuvre: an art work. It can be a single piece or an artist’s life-time work
  • Une reproduction: a print
  • Peindre: to paint
  • Un cheval: a horse
  • Un chien: a dog
  • Exposer: to exhibit
  • Un fusain: a charcoal  (specifically for drawing).
  • Un nez: a nose
  • Un visage: a face
  • Un paysage: a landscape
  • Peinture figurative: figurative painting
  • Abstrait: abstract
  • Le corps: the body
  • Le regard: the gaze
  • Les yeux: the eyes
  • Un portrait (the ‘t’ is silent): a portrait
  • Vivant: alive, living
  • Mort: dead
  • Un dessin: a drawing
  • Un dessinateur: a drawer, someone who draws
  • Un chevalet: an easel
  • Une brosse: a brush (in general)
  • Un pinceau: a paintbrush
  • Un tableau: A painting (in a frame)
  • La chair: the flesh
  • Ocre: ochre
  • La matière: the matter
  • L’atelier: the painter’s studio
  • Un nu: a nude (painting).
  • Une croûte: a crust
  • Une toile: a canvass (also used to mean a ‘painting’)
  • Une touche: a touch, a dab
  • Un cou: a neck
  • Une oreille: an ear
  • Un auto-portrait: a self-portrait
  • Un portrait en pied: a full-length portrait
  • Un trait: a stroke
  • Un chef d’oeuvre: a masterpiece
  • Prendre la pose: to take the pose