Exhibition of the week
Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits
This harsh observer of reality takes a long look at himself in the mirror to paint some of the most unforgiving self-portraits of modern times.
• Royal Academy, London, 27 October to 26 January.
The 2,600-year history of Buddhism explored through art and artefacts including precious scrolls and manuscripts from the British Library collection.
• British Library, London, until 23 February.
Space travel obsesses conceptual artist Paterson, who stars in a sample of art now that also includes Darren Almond, Shona MacNaughton and Lucy Raven.
• Modern One, Edinburgh, 26 October to 31 May.
An English Lady’s Wardrobe
Fashion and middle-class life in 1920s and 30s Liverpool are recreated through the sartorial possessions of Mrs Emily Margaret Tinne.
• Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 25 October to 1 March.
The fiercely honest self-portraiture of this radical early 20th-century German expressionist.
• British Museum, London, until 12 January.
Image of the week
Two Plants, an “enormous symphony” of “lots of little portraits of leaves” took Lucian Freud three years to complete and drove him “around the bend”. With meticulous realism, Freud captured the elusive essence of plants like no other. So why are these paintings rarely exhibited and discussed? Read Giovanni Aloi’s appraisal of the painter’s overlooked work.
What we learned
Joni Mitchell’s watercolours are glorious
The Louvre’s Leonard show is a blockbuster with brains …
… while Bridget Riley’s Hayward exhibition is a shimmering five-star triumph
Lucian Freud’s self-portraits are menacing, elusive and … orgasmic?
The Soviet Union took on religion with posters
Manc-hattan, ahem Manchester, has sold its soul for luxury skyscrapers
REM’s Michael Stipe talked us through his collection of photos …
… while Gavin Turk shared his thoughts on sock darning and homemade baked beans
An artist has created deepfake birdsong to highlight threat to dawn chorus
A newly discovered Rembrandt is to be shown in UK for first time
Rare pictures surfaced of Taliban fighters in makeup
One of the Renaissance’s 16th century masters was a nun
A Kehinde Wiley sculpture is heading for the Confederacy
… while Bisa Butler tells African American history with textiles
Is Apsley House’s Titian a dud, as one expert claims?
Paul Graham made a moving last study of his elderly mother
… while Polixeni Papapetrou’s muse is her daughter
The Future Library announced its next contributor
Reich/Richter married the work of two contemporary explorers
Protests against BP’s arts sponsorship continue
Dennis Hopper was pretty good behind a camera too
We remembered newspaper photographer Sally Soames
Masterpiece of the Week
The Death of Actaeon, c.1559-75, by Titian
Actaeon accidentally saw the goddess Diana naked when he was out hunting, in a classical myth that Titan took from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. She punished him by turning him into a stag and he was torn to pieces by his own hounds. Titian paints this moment of transformation and horror as a sensual melancholy feast of autumnal colour. Actaeon is still part-human as the dogs take him. The landscape is equally ambiguous – a dappled yellow and brown woodland given a texture like matted leaves by rich, freely expressive brushwork. Diana is much more clearly formed as if only she was entirely real. The world of mortals is ever-shifting, our knowledge of ourselves and nature unreliable, says Titian in this late, evocatively unfinished masterpiece.
• National Gallery, London.
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