Lucian Freud: New Perspectives ★★★★★ The National Gallery | Oct 1, 2022 - 22 Jan 22, 2023


Above all, Lucian Freud was a painter, and he dedicated himself to his art with an unwavering focus. In later life, he described himself as "very selfish" and everything in his life was secondary to his craft. He was prepared to sacrifice whatever might be necessary to achieve his artistic objectives. His portraits become dissections of his subjects, and while the double portraits sometimes reveal tenderness between their principals, Freud's eye remains unsentimental and implacable. As we move through the exhibition, we see the development of his technique and are able to trace his experiments from the early, thinly painted linear style to the later more textured work. Whatever the style, however, the meticulous control is always there, as is the obsessive observation that Freud brings to his renderings. From the unsparing self-portraits to the presentation of family, lovers and friends, the work is arresting, if not disturbing. This is an extraordinary exhibition which exposes an artist, as unrelentingly as his work exposes both himself and his sitters. Here's a show that fulfills its promise of providing new perspectives on a major British painter.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Lucian Freud Bella and Esther, 1988. Private collection. © The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022/ Bridgeman Images.

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