IN WASHINGTON'S museums, this is a particularly good week for various people pictures, portraits old and new. American Colonial Portraits, 1700-1776, through January 10 at the National Portrait Gallery, includes 117 objects from 60 public and private collections here and abroad. The young Benjamin West, the great John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, John Smibert and Robert Feke are among the painters represented in this authoritative survey. Many of the sitters (Benjamin Franklin is one of them) pose with drapes and columns and wear fine silks and brocades. Lucian Freud's contemporary portraits, on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, aren't formal. They're formidable. The one setting he employs is his scruffy London studio. His sitters, many of them naked, bare more than their bodies: You somehow see their souls. Freud's exhibition, on display through November 29, is the strongest show in town.
The Hirshhorn is also showing Chicago's Roger Brown, whose people, next to Freud's, tend to look like toys dwelling in toy towns. The Reagans and the Pope, and Ben Franklin, too, are among the famous figures Roger Brown portrays. His show closes Sunday. There are also many portraits in Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors (through January 17 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art), and in the Berthe Morisot exhibition in the National Gallery's West Building. A portrait of young Morisot -- by her friend, and future brother-in-law, the great Edouard Manet -- accompanies her retrospective, which closes November 2.