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All Too Human at Tate Britain

Now–27 August 2018

They say that art imitates life, but the Tate Britain’s All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life explores not so much the imitation but the expression: showcasing over 100 paintings from the 20th and 21st centuries, and centred on Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. There’s something very calming about figurative painting – entering into the exhibit you find yourself surrounded by people, frozen in time but still very much alive. Clear your afternoon, turn off your phone and settle in to make some new friends.

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Bacon and Freud

The two artists’ differing styles are celebrated here – Freud most often worked from life, and the hyper-real subjects of his paintings watch you from their frames (mostly not in a scary way; don’t worry). The collection of Bacon’s paintings looks at his relationship with photographer John Deakin. Much of Bacon’s work was based on photographs he commissioned from Deakin – including Three Studies of Lucian Freud. Full circle.

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Celebrate female artists

Perhaps the most impactful painting in the exhibition (although this is a matter of opinion) is Jenny Saville’s Reverse – a large, highly-coloured painting of a woman’s face on one side, half-reflected in the floor. Either because of its size or its visceral use of reds and pinks, in contrast to the paler flesh-tones of many of the other paintings, it draws the eye immediately. The exhibition celebrates many other contemporary female artists and the figures they create, including Paula Rego, Celia Paul and Cecily Brown.

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Nearby nibbles

After the exhibition, wander over Vauxhall Bridge and into Battersea, where a recent redevelopment has led to an influx of new restaurants, including the recently opened Chokhi Dhani, a Rajasthani restaurant with a contemporary twist. You’ll be hungry after experiencing all that beautiful art, so try one of their feasting menus with over 12 dishes. They’ve got art there, too: there’s a 14ft bronze elephant statue, so you’ll feel right at home.

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One more thing…

Just as an extra treat, can we recommend this Twitter account?

Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG

Image credits: Joe Humphrys

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