The Baldur's Gate 3 Free the Artist quest is one you encounter quite early in the game if you find the hidden Zhentarim Hideout and the kidnapped artist, Oskar Fevras, that they're holding. While you can free Oskar there and then, his quest won't pick up again until Act 3, where you'll have to help him and his new wife, Lady Jannath, deal with a haunting at her estate.
Free the Artist is also quite a buggy quest in its current form, so I'd suggest quicksaving at key points, especially before you get your final reward, so you can retry if the painting doesn't turn out to be of your character. Otherwise, here's how to free Oskar Fevras in Act 1, and complete the Free the Artist quest when you arrive in Baldur's Gate in Act 3.
How to free Oskar Fevras
You first meet Oskar in the Zhentarim Hideout in Act 1, where he's been kidnapped by the criminal organisation, and is being forced to paint for them. You can get to the Zhentarim Hideout by heading north from the Blighted Village, then northwest along the road to Waukeen's Rest. At the back of the house by the stables, you'll find a door blocked by boxes. Before you head inside, make sure you have Detect Thoughts ready.
As you enter, the door guard will ask for a passphrase. If you Detect Thoughts, you can get the password, and then enter into the hideout itself and convince Zarys you're there to help them. Oskar is near the entrance in the area with the boxes and paintings. When you talk to Brem about freeing Oskar, you have three options:
- Buy him: Oskar costs 1,000 gold. It's a lot of money, and probably not worth it, but it's the simplest option.
- Persuade Brem to release Oskar for free: You'll have to pass a Persuasion or Intimidation difficulty rating 20 check for this.
- Haggle him down: If you pass a Persuasion or Intimidation difficulty rating 15 check you can get the price lowered to 600 gold.
After you free Oskar, he'll promise that Lady Jannath, his patron, will reward you once you arrive in the city of Baldur's Gate. While you're hanging around in the hideout, be sure to grab the Infernal Iron and unlock the hidden Underdark entrance. See you in Act 3!
Where to find Lady Jannath's Estate
You can find Lady Jannath's Estate on the west side of the Lower City when you arrive in Act 3, just above the Steel Watch Foundry. There is a fancily-attired Dragonborn doorman standing outside, but as he explains, he's on holiday, so feel free to walk past him into the house. For this next section, you're going to need See Invisibility in some form to catch the Poltergeist and Tormented Soul enemies loose throughout the house.
Volo's Ersatz Eye is a great source of See Invisibility—if you let him operate on you—but it can be a bit buggy here, so I used Jaheira's Faerie Fire spell instead. The first two ghosts are on the balcony, so climb the stairs and defeat them, before opening the right-side double door and carrying on to the next floor.
You'll find Lady Jannath and a possessed Oskar Fevras. She'll plead with you to subdue him, so select the Passive tab at the bottom, activate non-lethal attacks, and bonk him on the head till he stops summoning ghosts. Make sure you loot the key from his unconscious body as you'll be needing it in a second.
How to deal with the Cursed Skulls
The next step of the quest is making your way to the Atelier on the top floor of the house, which requires you to run a gauntlet of Tormented Souls and Cursed Skulls. The former aren't too bad, but the latter can only be damaged with attacks that deal over 50 damage. The solution? Remove Curse destroys them. I suggest taking a Long Rest to refresh those spell slots, then have Shadowheart lead the way, casting the Remove Curse spell on each of the six skulls in your path to the top of the house.
When you arrive in the Atelier, unlock the secret door behind Lady Jannath's painting to find the painting of another woman—Oskar's long-lost love, Kerri. Open the chest at the back of the room and loot a letter from Mystic Carrion, explaining that Oskar Fevras tried to commune with the spirit of Kerri, presumably causing all this fuss. Take the info back to Lady Jannath and she'll direct you to Mystic Carrion.
How to get the Torch of Revocation
If you've already done the Thrumbo quest involving Mystic Carrion, he may well be dead. Worry not, though, as you can still go and talk to Thrumbo at Philgrave's Mansion about Oskar, and he'll let you look through Mystic Carrion's stuff. The item you need is the Torch of Revocation which can be found in the locked chest just behind Mystic Carrion's desk. If you looted thoroughly after killing him, you should already have it. Otherwise, you'll have to either steal it or help Mystic Carrion find Thrumbo. Once acquired, use the torch to destroy the secret painting back at the Jannath Estate.
Should you let Kerri kill Oskar?
Once you burn the painting—give the game a little while to process—then head back downstairs to find an unconscious Lady Jannath and the ghost of Kerri about to murder Oskar. Your choices here are:
- Help Oskar: Convince the ghost with Persuasion or Intimidation to leave him alone, then use Deception, Intimidation, or Persuasion to find out the truth behind her death and connection to Oskar. You need to pass both checks for her to leave peacefully, otherwise, you'll have to fight her.
- Kill the ghost: You can attack Kerri right from the outset if you wish, though she will summon other Tormented Souls you'll have to fight.
- Leave Oskar: Let Kerri kill Oskar. Lady Jannath will wake up and understandably be a bit miffed. She'll tell you to leave, and you won't get that promised reward.
If Oskar survives, you can claim your reward by meeting him in the Atelier. Make sure to quicksave before you do. Oskar will paint you a portrait, but it seems very bugged as to who he will actually paint. The first time, I got a painting of Shadowheart, while the second time, I got a black square. However, by leaving my companions back at camp, save-scumming, and selecting the Ghost Whisperer option when naming the painting, I did get a portrait of my character after a few tries.