On first sight, the egg included in this painting looks back to the wilfully strange Surrealist juxtapositions Lucian Freud was experimenting with forty years earlier. It makes the title sound almost like a menu, with its contents laid out as if for consumption. Their combination, however, puts appetite off its stride, and, despite the frankness of its nudity, this is not an erotic painting. To Peter Conrad, led by Freud's portraits of pregnant women, it is expressive of Freud's interest in the invisible processes masked by female genitalia; it “turns the body inside out and drags the mystery into daylight. A naked girl lounges on a bed; beside her on a table is a dish containing a boiled egg, sliced in half. A fearfully symmetrical breakfast awaits her, looking up at us like a pair of eyes, with the two staring gobbets of yolk set in circles of globular white […] could anything in the world be more alarming than such a capsule of fertility, killed by boiling water and then cut down the middle by a knife?” For a full painting description on the British Council’s website please click on the link below under ‘More on this painting’
Where to see this painting?
British Council Collection
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection