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Lucien Freud: New Perspectives, National Gallery

"I go to the National Gallery rather like going to a doctor for help." So said Lucien Freud, giant of 20th century painting. And this new show, marking the centenary of his birth, makes clear his debt to the Great Masters hanging in the rooms next door.

Lucien Freud 1943
Man with a Feather (Self Portrait)

Not overly huge, the exhibition is a fabulous celebration of his genius. And we reckon it is good for kids. Yes, there is a fair bit of naked flesh and one huge in-your-face naked body but the Rubens-esque quota is low. Instead, marvel at the technique in the early stylised self-portraits, the still lives with flowers. The brilliantly drawn dogs. The hands. Oh, the hands.

There is a small room that includes a drawing of his dead mother (he had to get special permission to do it from the morgue) opposite a small painting of her. It is un-showy and very moving. He looked at life - and death - with a steady gaze.

Older children, ages 10+, with an interest in painting will learn a huge amount from a master of his craft.

And bravo the National Gallery's ticketing policy. Under 18s are free with an accompanying adult (considerably more generous than most public galleries) and on Friday evenings, everyone pays what they want/can.

Tickets: £24 adults (and on Friday evenings ‘pay what you wish’), under 18s free. Runs to 22 Jan 2023.


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