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Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits

27 October 2019 — 26 January 2020

This exhibition is now closed

See upcoming exhibitions


“Ruthlessly honest.”

The Times


“Shocking and utterly brilliant.“




The Telegraph


“How complicated, how fascinating it all is.”

Adrian Searle, The Guardian

In a world first, we unite Lucian Freud’s self-portraits in one extraordinary exhibition. See more than 50 paintings, prints and drawings in which this modern master of British art turns his unflinching eye firmly on himself.

One of the most celebrated portraitists of our time, Lucian Freud is also one of very few 20th century artists who portrayed themselves with such consistency.

Spanning nearly seven decades, his self-portraits give a fascinating insight into both his psyche and his development as a painter – from his earliest portrait, painted in 1939, to his final one executed 64 years later. They trace the fascinating evolution from the linear graphic works of his early career to the fleshier, painterly style he became synonymous with.

When seen together, his portraits represent an engrossing study into the process of ageing. Confronting his self-image anew with each work, he depicted himself in youth as the Greek hero Acteon, in sombre reflection later in life and fittingly, for the great painter of 20th century nudes, naked aged 71 but for a pair of unlaced boots.

When asked if he was a good model for himself Freud replied, “No, I don’t accept the information that I get when I look at myself, that’s where the trouble starts”. It is precisely this “trouble” that makes Freud’s self-portraits so intensely compelling – and makes this an unmissable chance to see a life’s work in one show.

Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits is in our smaller, Sackler Wing of galleries and we expect demand to be high. To ensure the best possible experience, Friends must book a free, timed ticket to see this show during the normal run of the exhibition, as well as extended hours.

27 October 2019 — 26 January 2020

Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm

Tickets £18 (without donation £16). Concessions available. Friends of the RA go for free but must book an advanced, timed ticket for themselves and their guest.

The Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries, Royal Academy of Arts