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Elegant Dresses, Space Oddities, and Lucian Freud – The Week in Art | Art and Design

Exhibition of the week

Lucian Freud: self-portraits
This grim reality watcher takes a long look in the mirror to paint some of the most ruthless self-portraits of modern times.
Royal Academy, London, October 27th to January 26th.

Also showing

The 2,600 years of Buddhist history have explored art and artifacts, including precious scrolls and manuscripts from the British Library collection.
British Library, London, until 23 February.

Katie Paterson
Space travel obsesses concept artist Paterson, who now stars an art sample that also includes Darren Almond, Shona MacNaughton and Lucy Raven.
Modern One, Edinburgh, from 26 October to 31 May.

An English Lady's Wardrobe
The fashion and middle-class life of Liverpool's 1920s and 1930s are recreated through Mrs. Emily Margaret Tinne.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 25 October to 1 March.

Käthe Kollwitz
The fiercely honest self-portrait of this radical German expressionist of the early twentieth century.
British Museum, London, until January 12th.

Picture of the week

Two Plants, 1977-80, by Lucian Freud.

Two Plants, 1977-80, by Lucian Freud. Photo: © Archive Lucian Freud / Bridgeman Images

Two Plants, a “huge symphony” of “many small leaf portraits” took Lucian Freud three years to complete and took him “around the curve”. With meticulous realism, Freud captured the illusory essence of plants like no other. So why are these paintings rarely displayed and discussed? Read Giovanni Aloi's assessment of the painter's neglected work.

What we learned

Joni Mitchell's watercolors are glorious

Leonard's Louvre Concert is a blockbuster with brains…

… while Bridget Riley Hayward's exhibition is a scintillating five-star triumph

Are Lucian Freud's self-portraits threatening, delusional and … orgasmic?

The Soviet Union assumed religion with posters

Manc-hattan, ahem Manchester, sold his soul to luxury skyscrapers

Michael Stipe from REM told us about his photo collection …

… While Gavin Turk shared his thoughts on sock darning and homemade beans

An artist created deepfake birdsong to highlight the threat of the dawn choir

A newly discovered Rembrandt will be shown for the first time in the UK

Rare images emerged from Taliban fighters in makeup

One of the 16th century masters of the Renaissance was a nun.

A sculpture by Kehinde Wiley is going to the Confederacy

… while Bisa Butler tells African American history with textiles

Is Apsley House's Titian a failure, as one expert says?

Paul Graham did one last moving study of his elderly mother

… while Polixeni Papapetrou's muse is her daughter

The Library of the Future announced its next contributor

Reich / Richter married the work of two contemporary explorers

Protests against BP's artistic sponsorship continue

Dennis Hopper was also very good behind a camera

We remember newspaper photographer Sally Soames

Masterpiece of the Week

The Death of Actaeon, c.1559-75, Oil on Canvas, Titian.

The Death of Actaeon, c.1559-75, Oil on Canvas, Titian. Photography: National Gallery, London.

The Death of Actaeon, c.1559-75, by Titian
Actaeon accidentally saw the goddess Diana naked while hunting, in a classic myth that Titan drew from Ovid's metamorphoses. She punished him by turning him into a deer and he was torn to pieces by his own dogs. Titian paints this moment of transformation and horror as a sensual and melancholy banquet of autumnal color. Actaeon is still half human when dogs take him. The landscape is equally ambiguous – a spotted yellow and brown forest, with leaf-like texture tangled in rich, freely expressive brush strokes. Diana is much more clearly formed, as if she were entirely real. The world of mortals is always changing, our knowledge of ourselves and nature is unreliable, Titian says in this late and evocatively unfinished masterpiece.
National Gallery, London.

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