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A Portuguese childhood


The Prado gives me courage
Paula Rego Artist
Views Duration
51. The Prado gives me courage 288 02:25
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The fact that I am this old, it’s the only thing is that I feel, well, then do I have time? You see, that's the only thing, do I have time to... to change again and do something else? Not, you know, in pictures, in do something else. And I've got to. I just have to. And whether I'm 70 or 80 or whatever, you’ve just got to... you’ve got to move on all the time, and there is some way now that I also have to move on, I don’t know how. But you never do know how. Never, never, never do you know how. And that's... you know, one’s always terribly insecure, actually. But providing you... you get better at drawing, then that helps as well, you know, providing you... you can... you can begin to learn to draw, and so on, that's... that’s a help. And so, you know, but maybe... maybe it will get looser again. I don’t know. I've no idea. No, going to the Prado and looking at pictures there, I always find very... very good for... for having courage, because I do so love...I do so love Spanish art. I... I don’t know, I love it... it's... it’s... I love Ribera, I love Goya of course. Zurbaran... I know El Greco is not Spanish, but he's like he was, very... rather effeminate ecstasy... effeminate ecstasy. Beautiful. And I love all that. So I go in there and I just... I can just spend a long time looking, being there. It's difficult to look, actually, properly. But you be with them, you know, with them, and that's... contaminates you whole kind of catch it. You know. You can't really look. I find it very, very difficult to what they call analyse pictures and so on. I find it very, very difficult. But they're presences. That's why they're not like photographs. They're not like in... photographs don’t have that. You know, photographs do not have presences like that. These are like people, like human... humans, or animals that are there alive. So I do like being with them.

Portuguese painter Paula Rego (1935-2022) became part of the London Group in 1965, was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1989 and became the first Associate Artist of the National Gallery in London in 1990. Her work is strongly influenced by folk and fairy tales, especially those of her homeland.

Listeners: Catherine Lampert

Catherine Lampert is an independent curator, art historian and Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts. She was director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1988-2001) and has been a model for Frank Auerbach since 1978. Her recent projects include exhibitions of Rodin (Royal Academy 2006) and Lucian Freud (Dublin, Denmark and The Hague 2007-2008) as well as a book on Francis Alys (Turner Libros) and a catalogue raisonné of Euan Uglow's paintings (Yale University Press 2007).

Duration: 2 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2007

Date story went live: 17 July 2008