Lucian Freud's newest work The Painter Surprised by a Naked Admirer is unveiled today at the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The question on everyone's minds is "Who is the girl?"
The self-portrait depicts Freud in his studio with a young nude woman clutched to one of his legs (which Londonist has come to understand is paying homage to The Studio of the Painter, a work by Courbet). There is no indication of who the young lady is though, and obviously - the art community is chirping up a storm to figure it out.
The Independent quoted a "specialist" as saying that the woman appears to have modelled for Freud a long period of time (seeing that he started this work last summer), but he could not recall any other works that she has appeared in. Freud is infamous in the art world for his love affairs with women (particuarly younger than him with one instance of a 50 year spread).
Londonist predicts that we won't know the identity of the muse for about 20 years at which time some poor MA student at an art school will uncover secret e-mails (much less exciting than actual letters) that indicate who she is. Until then we are left to wonder, who is she?
The Painter Surprised by a Naked Admirer will be on at the Portrait Gallery for three weeks before taking up residence in Venice for the Biennale. For other examples of Freud's work go here.