Analyzing the art of Lucian Freud

Auping said, "Lucian does believe, or did believe that, that he was painting people in the most important way you could possibly paint them, as they were" - not necessarily as the subjects saw themselves.

His greatest works were nudes - some slim, others corpulent. People (as Freud put it) "stripped of (their) costume." Anyone can put on different clothes, he said, but the naked body was "more permanent, more factual."

Many of the women who posed for Freud would become his lovers. It was rumored that he fathered dozens of children; 14 are known, many of whom said they only really got to know their father when they, too, sat for portraits.

"The people that he painted are the people that were a part of his life - his wives, his children, his lovers. Some criminals, some businessmen, some collectors," said Auping. "They were a way for him to be in the world without having to go out into the world."

In a documentary airing tonight on the Smithsonian Channel, Lucian Freud is shown working on his last portrait, just a few days before he died, at the age of 88.

"What did you like about his painting?" Werner asked.

"The humanity," replied Dawson. "The tenderness of what it is to be a human, to be alive. It's about being alive. It's about understanding yourself and allowing other people to be, even if you think differently."

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