This is an etching by Lucian Freud. I came across a book of his etchings and drawings a while ago which I love to look at. This etching is of his mother, who incidentally he only used as a model after his father died. She had lost all interest in everything, including her son; before this time he felt uncomfortable drawing her as he felt her intuitivity invasive.
What I love about his etchings and drawings is they have the same force as his finished paintings. They have that unrelentless quality to them, by which you can feel and see something of the models’ innermost thoughts.
In this etching, Freud’s wiry mark making is minimal, yet it has the same feeling of completeness as the painting of his mother. If you compare the mark making around the eyes to his painting, you will see that he can map out the planes of the face as expertly in his etchings as he does with oils, and feel exactly the same persona shining from the etching as you do from the painting.
What this brings home for me, and excites me, is that you can be just as successful with the very basics. You can portray with line with as much emotion and intensity which you can with the most expensive cadmiums.