Being a National Gallery geek and all I have my favorite rooms and pictures, like any other artsy NG fans out there, and one of my favorite rooms just got a new family memeber. Lucian Freud, who died in 2011, donated ‘The Italian Woman’ or ‘Woman With the Yellow Sleeve’ pained by the French painter and impressionist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, to the National Gallery in his will, and on Monday it was finally unveild in room 41. The room already hosts many of Corot’s many paintings, but being an artist famous for his landscape paintings, the Italian woman with the bright sleeves breathes new life into the room. Sharing a wall with painters such as William Etty (and his beautiful painting ‘Mlle Rachel’) and Jean-Francois Millet, Corot’s Italian woman have an impressive effect on the atmosphere as a whole.
Freud’s reason for giving away this portrait (formerly found on his livingroom wall) was to thank Britain as a nation for welcoming his family in 1933 when they escaped a Nazi Germany just before the start of the war. Freud is the grandson of Sigmund Freud and in my opinion, ironically enough, Britain should thank them both for emigrating to England. Lucian Freud, with his massive collection of impressive paintings (mostly modernist portraits of naked people in laid back, natural possitions), left Britain not only with a piece of his will on the wall of the National Gallery, but also with some of his own influential paintings hanging on the walls of so many London art galleries.