The Sitters Tale: Germaine Greer

New faces at the National Portrait Gallery: the great feminist loves Rego's `portrait of intelligence'
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The Independent Culture
What happened was that the National Portrait Gallery asked Paula Rego if she would like to paint a portrait, and she apparently said yes. They said, who would you like to paint, and she said me. Of course I said yes to Paula, and that meant that I had to go up to her studio in Camden Town. She was going to work in these great big chalks, these great big crayons. I used to come up to London and sit in her studio, and we listened to the entire Ring cycle - it took all six sittings.

I think it's a wonderful picture. I know it doesn't make me look particularly good-looking, but I'm not good-looking so that's all right, I don't feel as if I've been caricatured or anything. But what I think it does look like, it looks like a portrait of intelligence - it's got this incredible flicker about it, of energy, which is her energy more than mine, but my image is invested with her power and her concentration.

Germaine Greer's 1995 portrait by Paula Rego hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, WC2 (0171 306 0055)