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Art and Images in Psychiatry
May 2013

Lucian Freud's Reflection (Self-Portrait)

Author Affiliations


JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(5):455-456. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.370

My work is purely autobiographical. It is about myself and my surroundings. It is an attempt at a record. I work with people that interest me, and that I care about and think about, in rooms that I live in and know.—Lucian Freud1(p7)

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), grandson of Sigmund Freud, is considered to be the leading realist painter of the last century. His father Ernst Freud, an architect, was the 4th of Sigmund Freud's 6 children and was the youngest son. Lucian grew up in Berlin, Germany, far from the influence of the birthplace of psychoanalysis in Vienna, Austria. Grandfather Sigmund visited Lucian's family in Berlin regularly during his childhood, and he also came to Berlin for treatment of a malignant squamous cell carcinoma of the palate. Sigmund gave his grandson Lucian an illustrated version of The Arabian Nights and Brueghel prints, and read comic strips (Max and Moritz) with him, facilitating Lucian's interest in art.1,2 Living in Berlin in 1930 as an 8-year-old German Jew, Lucian learned of discrimination when he was told he was not eligible for the Hitler Youth.3