Francis Bacon

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Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992), was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, austere, graphic and emotionally raw imagery.Bacon’s painterly but abstract figures typically appear isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages set against flat, nondescript backgrounds

“He began by painting variations on the Crucifixion and later focused on half-human, half-grotesque portrait”

Bacon called the image of a screaming mouth a catalyst for his work, and incorporated the shape of the mouth when painting the chimera.

According to art critic and Bacon biographer Michael Peppiatt, “it would be no exaggeration to say that, if one could really explain the origins and implications of this scream, one would be far closer to understanding the whole art of Francis Bacon.”The inspiration for the recurring motif of the screaming mouths in many Bacons of the late 1940s and early 1950s were drawn from a number of sources, including medical text books, the works of Matthias Grünewaldand photographic stills of the nurse in the Odessa Steps scene in Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent The Battleship Potemkin.

Bacon first saw the film in 1935, and viewed it frequently thereafter. In his studio, he kept a photographic still of the scene which showed a close-up of the nurse’s head which showed her screaming in panic and terror and with broken pince-nez spectacles hanging from her blood-stained face. He referred to the image throughout his career, using it as a source of inspiration

“Some paint comes across directly onto the nervous system and other paint tells you the story in a long diatribe through the brain.”

“The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure.”

“Some artists leave remarkable things which, a 100 years later, don’t work at all. I have left my mark; my work is hung in museums, but maybe one day the Tate Gallery or the other museums will banish me to the cellar… you never know.”

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