The third big art event is at the National Portrait Gallery, a major exhibition of the work of Lucian Freud, with 130 paintings on display. See the NPG's website here.
Critic Laura Cumming writes: Lucian Freud Portraits is the final act of a prodigious career. Freud was still working on the show until his death at the age of 88 last summer. A whole floor of the National Portrait Gallery has been cleared away for the labours of a lifetime and the experience is grave, mysterious, compelling and inexhaustibly strong right up to the last portrait, where the brushstrokes simply cease mid-sentence. What was Freud's true subject all these years? The book of his art seems to be open in this monumental show, beginning with those early portraits that appear almost Flemish in their cold acuity. Here is Freud's first wife, Kitty, with her wistful fallen rose hanging opposite his self-portrait, hawk-eyed behind the barrier of an outsize thorn.
Here is his second wife, Caroline, limpidly beautiful in 1952: are there any more shining eyes in art? But within two years he has become an anxious shadow, in the devastating Hotel Bedroom, ousted to the window's edge by the vast bed in which she lies, eyes now swollen. He looks at us, she looks away: an impasse of guilt and irreversible pain. Continue reading:
Painted Life explores the life and work of Lucian Freud, undoubtedly one of Britain's greatest artists. Freud gave his full backing to the documentary shortly before his death. Uniquely, he was filmed painting his last work, a portrait of his assistant David Dawson. The film shows how Freud never swam with the flow and only achieved celebrity in older age. He rejected the artistic fashions of his time, sticking to figurative art and exploring portraiture, especially with regards to nude portraiture, which he explored with a depth of scrutiny that produced some of the greatest works of our time.