Freud’s self-portraits reveal a curiosity towards evolution in his physicality and psychology. Working only in his studio, Freud largely eschewed commissions in favour of sitters he was close to or drawn to; Two Irishmen in W11 for example is one of the highlights of this fantastic exhibition.
Freud destroyed more self-portraits than he preserved. Those that remain reveal how central they were to the development of his art. “With self portraits “likeness” becomes a different thing, because in ordinary portraits you try to pain the person in front of you, whereas in self-portraits you’ve got to paint yourself as another person… I have to do what I feel lie without being an expressionist.”
The stunning Royal Academy of Arts’ exhibition in London runs until 26 January 2020.