This is just wonderful from my friend, Antonella Gambotto-Burke. Art and relationships analysis, all in one.
In this portrait, Spencer and Preece are neither young nor beautiful, which, to us, makes their nakedness – and the nakedness of his desire – strange and overwhelming. Yet there is no more beautiful a portrait of a man’s conflicted sexual appetite for his wife: Spencer’s desire is specific rather than general, based on intimacies, grievances and experiences to which we are not privy. He wants her as she is, arrogant in her display, teasing, without pose or artifice. Her lack of nurturance is shown by the shrivelled representation of her breasts; there is no enfolding here, but he still wants her. More than anything, it is his lack of idealisation that is mesmerising.