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Died: 28th April 1992
Among the most influential painters of the last century, Francis Bacon (1909-1992) left behind a body of work characterized by a visceral and macabre realism. Drawing on masters like Velazquez, Picasso, and Van Gogh, Bacon explored themes which spoke to the raw, untamed experience of life, evoking sex, death, brutality, and carnage. In his broad, expressive brush strokes and stunning use of color, Bacon elevated the basest and most primal human characteristics into works of supreme beauty.
Works like Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953), in which the Spanish master's famous portrait is given a nightmarish new interpretation, demonstrate the careful deliberation that goes into Bacon’s paintings. His creative process, however, was less than calculated.
In an interview with David Sylvester, Bacon explained, "I find that if I am on my own I can allow the paint to dictate to me... that is the reason I like being alone, left with my own despair of being able to do anything at all on the canvas.” Bacon’s works assume a timeless relevance in their aesthetic explorations of the precariousness nature of life and humanity in the face of inevitable death.
Watch Part I of David Sylvester's interview with Francis Bacon in 1966:
Watch part I of a six-part documentary on Bacon [via the "South Bank Show"]: Click here to watch the rest of the documentary(read less)
Techniques & Media: Painting
Inspirations & Key Themes: human condition
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