Robert Melville at The New Statesman:
Immediately afterwards, the paintings take a turn towards our grosser world, and the realism begins to hurt. The portrait of John Minton has a piercing sadness. The portrait of Francis Bacon with lowered eyes has a Germanic intensity; it’s as if Grunewald had started a noli me tangere. The wide-eyed girl appears once more, in a green dressing gown, with a dog resting its head in her lap, but she has come back to our edgy, nerve-ridden world. Another girl appears. She has yellow hair and a charming face, and the images of her are still controlled by line.
By the end of the Fifties Freud is drawing with a loaded brush, and the faces ate marred by broad, highly visible paint strokes. In the frightening Woman Smiling he takes no account of human pride. He finds or invents a fearsome tattoo of blood clots under the skin.