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Francis Bacon

Artist 34 Francis Bacon Painting

Francis Bacon was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged, raw imagery. He is best known for his depictions of popes, crucifixion and portraits of close friends.

Francis Bacon was a maverick who rejected the preferred artistic style of abstraction of the era, in favour of a distinctive and disturbing realism.

Growing up, Bacon had a difficult and ambivalent relationship with his parents – especially his father, who struggled with his son’s emerging homosexuality.

His abstracted figures are typically isolated in geometrical cage like spaces, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds.

Bacon said that he saw images "in series", and his work typically focuses on a single subject for sustained periods, often in triptych or diptych formats.

Bacon took up painting late in life, having drifted in the late 1920s and 1930s as an interior decorator, and gambler.

He said that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest. His reputation is of a uniquely bleak chronicler of the human condition.

From the mid-1960s he mainly produced portraits of friends and drinking companions, either as single or triptych panels. Following the suicide of his lover George Dyer 1971 his art became more sombre, inward-looking and preoccupied with the passage of time and death.

Despite his bleak existentialist outlook, solidified in the public mind, Bacon in person was highly engaging and charismatic, articulate, well-read and openly gay.

‘I think Bacon is on his own, really. I mean, he had a very, very dark view of the world… And that’s probably why I love Bacon paintings, because when I first saw them, they reminded me of sort of spaces I’d imagined in nightmares, which is why he’s great.’- Damien Hirst, Artist

I love the brushstrokes and the emotional depth of his artworks. The ghostly images reflect a dark world state of existence and I love it.


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