In 1964 Lucian Freud set his students at the Norwich College of Art an assignment: to paint naked self-portraits and to make them ‘revealing, telling, believable… really shameless’. It was advice that the artist was often to follow himself. Visceral, unflinching and often nude, Freud’s self-portraits give us an insight into the development of his style as a painter. The works provide the viewer with a constant reminder of the artist’s overwhelming presence, whether he is confronting the viewer directly or only present as a shadow or in a reflection.
Essays by leading authorities – including those who knew him well – explore Freud’s life and work, and analyse the importance of self-portraiture in his practice and the intensity that he maintained when studying his own.