Exhibition of the week: Richard Hamilton: the Late Works, National Gallery, London WC2


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The Independent Culture

In the last year of his life, Richard Hamilton was preparing a final major work. The painting, based on Balzac's "The Unknown Masterpiece", about the search for artistic perfection, would encompass all his feelings about the perfection of beauty in the female nude, the possibilities of technology and the impossibility of total realism.

Conscious that he would not complete it, he allowed the National Gallery to incorporate three of his Photoshop studies in a show of his works he was planning with them. The result is a wonderful tribute to this great a rtist, who died in 2011.

It is not the show he intended, or the grand retrospective planned by Tate Modern, but in its way it is the most appropriate tribute to an artist who never stopped engaging with the public world. One wishes he had finished the work.

But in its stead we have a vibrant show of one of the most influential artists of the post war as he reached his end, still pushing the possibilities of art. And it's free.

(020 7747 2885; nationalgallery.org.uk) to 13 Jan