Magazine
Latest Issue

The skin we live in

Lucian Freud dismantled the established conventions of portrait painting

By Sebastian Smee   February 2012

“Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” (1995)

Lucian Freud Portraits National Portrait Gallery, 9th February-27th May, Tel: 0844 248 5033

A parent on bedside watch might have had the notion. A certain kind of photographer, too—the kind obsessed, for instance, by isolated fragments and strange magnifications. But among established portrait painters, the idea that the soles of a woman’s feet might testify to her person as eloquently and forcefully as her face feels unique to Lucian Freud.

The picture I’m thinking of is “Annabel Sleeping,” a portrait Freud made of one of his grown daughters in the late 1980s. It shows a woman,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect