The National Portrait Gallery’s tremendous show celebrates the unexpected moments that were ever present in the artist’s work
Lucian Freud  painted strange, uneasy, figures, from first to last. Maybe they were uneasy because he was painting  them. There was as much violence as tenderness in his stare, and in the ways he devised to paint.
This tremendous show tracks Freud’s inquisitiveness and inventiveness, his constant returns to the mystery of presence. Almost everything Freud did was a portrait of a situation or a confrontation as much as it was a body in a room, whether the body belonged to a lover, a daughter, the artist’s mother, a baron, a bank robber or the Queen.
Freud was 18 in 1940 when he painted his art college tutor Cedric Morris , the earliest work in this large, though far from complete exhibition, planned in close co-operation with the artist himself during the last five years of his life.
Freud’s final painting, of his pet dog and his studio assistant David Dawson, was left unfinished on the easel when Freud died last year at 88. Its incompleteness is extremely affecting.
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