David Freeman was born in Calcutta, India, in 1961, and moved to Britain in 1978. After graduating college in 1981, he set up his own studio in London. For the next several years, he busied himself on commissions for books, magazines, posters, and greeting cards. At the same time he continued with his own fine artwork, exploring various media, including sculpture. Eventually he returned to the subject that had always been his favorite occupation: painting the human figure.
The treatment of his subjects shows a deep understanding of the classical realist tradition. His use of light and darkness is a contemporary version of the Baroque chiaroscuro, made famous in the works of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. His figures and faces have a luminescence found in the works of the late Italian Renaissance masters. The skin tones that he paints are iridescent as in the works of Tintoretto.
The high level of detail with which Freeman paints highlights the “icon-like” appearance of his figures. They are blended into his myriad of patterned backgrounds as if frozen in time. His colors are deeply rich, dark, and sumptuous and his frequent use of gold leaf is derived from the Byzantine tradition of decoration. Despite Freeman’s classical approach, his faces and figures speak to the viewer from an avant-garde perspective that references the late 20th century figurative style.