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The explicit realism of this image is unusual in artistic images of the naked human form. Spencer shows his own and his wife’s body in a frank, non-idealised manner, paying close attention to the colour and texture of skin. This way of painting actual bodies may relate to his idiosyncratic Christian belief that God resides in everything and everybody.The sexual tension of the scene may reflect the fact that Spencer’s second marriage was never consummated – a situation represented symbolically by the uncooked meat.

May 2007