See also: Still-born Child in Kitchen (diptych). 1977/1982
Lenkiewicz generally created a centrepiece image for each Project, one which dominated the exhibition either in sheer scale or visual drama. This painting was originally a single large canvas called Man Eating his Heart and Entrails. Sitter for the painting Annie Hill-Smith explains that:
“…after the piece was shown in Jealousy and the project was complete he cut the painting into two parts and then painted the so-called 'still-born' (which I would call abortion) image onto the smaller section (that part was put on in Plymouth). It was then hung in the Death project, so you see that the two parts are simultaneously conjoined and distinct.”
In her review of the exhibition ‘Robert Lenkiewicz: Still Lives’ at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol in 2011, Hill-Smith described the motivation for the painting:
“He was exploring jealousy in that project using his so-called ‘private language’ paintings. That is, he was using his skills of painting things that look like things to try to represent some of the very visceral stuff of jealousy. You know that visceral feeling (I'm sure you do) … he thought that most people would recognize it and that the representation of the viscera pouring out of him would 'speak' to the viewer of those painful feelings. So this one was one of many in that project that all 'spoke' to you the viewer (he hoped) of the jealousy experience.
So that painting arose. While it was being painted I was indeed having an affair, the raw material of jealousy … so it's a fair bet that the piece is loosely inspired by my activities and while it was being painted we talked about the emotions of jealousy all the time. It was part of his research as you might say.”