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A life in portraits: Lucian Freud’s visual autobiography

Portrait painter Lucian Freud made intimate and autobiographical art. He painted his loved ones in the familiar setting of his studio and personal space. By choosing the same subjects over and over again, he created series of paintings: a series of lovers, of children, of his mother, of animals and pets and a series of self-portraits. The portraits can be seen as excerpts from a diary and records of the different relationships he maintained during his life. He also established affectionate bonds through the process of painting, that took months. Being his model was the best way of getting to know him and to be part of his life. The portraits show different chapters of relationships and nuances in the feeling of both painter and model.
In this article the entanglement of the work and life of this important 20th-century artist is investigated with the objective to gain a deeper insight in this distinct oeuvre, the artist, his creative process and the mechanism of art as self-expression.