Durham-born Neil Stokoe, a painter whose quarried face stares balefully at the world, has described his work as 'fatalistic', but he does not go far enough.
There's a telling photograph in the National Portrait Gallery's Lucian Freud retrospective of David Hockney sitting poised on a stool in Freud's studio. The elder Hockney looks like a man at peace, his glasses perched on his nose giving him a grandfatherly air.
When it comes to our appreciation of art, who cares what we're meant to think? Who cares what the critics or art historians tell us we should feel?