Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma


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At 16 he was expelled from home after his tyrannical military father caught him in his mother's panties.

Francis Bacon: Anatomy Of An Enigma by Michael Peppiatt

After drifting through London's homosexual underworld, he was sent with an uncle to late-'20s Berlin, where the young artist found an even more vibrant gay scene. As Bacon ended up with various sex partners--including his uncle--he also witnessed the kind of economic inequity and social injustice that may have sparked some of his raging images. Although Bacon encountered tragedies and low points throughout his life, here his history seems richly layered with experiences of joy and artistic triumph, In his preface Peppiatt quotes Bacon saying, "It would take a Proust to tell the story of my life.

If not exactly Proustian, the book is an intimate portrait of the artist as a brilliant and complex gay man. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.

Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma

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Mumford University of North Carolina Press, Weinberg Southern Illinois University Press, Are You Being Served? It is wonderfully tender and mysterious in its rendering of the space between the legs and in its modelling of the underside of the right thigh. Its use of grisaille is breathtaking. Does this work take us by the throat chiefly because of its lyrical beauty or because of the elegiac poignancy of its sense of farewell? Looking on without the same commitments, what I see is a figure outline which Bacon has mechanically summarised on the usual unprimed canvas and has then blocked in with spasmodic strokes of a very stiff, faintly crimson-tinted white, determined that the figure should somehow be fleshly but desperately uncertain as to how its volume and structure could be represented, or indeed whether they should be attempted.

The brush doing this bodged infill, nervously observing the outline of that right thigh and buttock, has left a clean edge that half-prompts you to read the area as a flat plane, thus stymying the effort to render its recession. The brushloads of grey reaching to fill the fork below the groin are equally timorous. Bacon himself readily confessed to his incompetences, as Sylvester acknowledges: but was he complacent about them?

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At times, I wonder if Sylvester does. But maybe this mislocates an artistic act which, in the context of postwar figuration, was in fact rather ahead of its time. Unlike Giacometti or Freud, with their arduous reinventions of the practice of drawing from life, Bacon painted his repertory of screams and flurried buggerings with a peremptory wilfulness that seems close to Pop Art: I want it now.

ilpodmamiwel.tk Sylvester notes how his reliance on photos left him disoriented when confronted with living models in the s — a disengagement from traditional skills that would become institutionalised in the era of Warhol. A painter, that is, of a humanity born clothed; in this case, of a race that presents itself in suits and ties.


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No one has had a more forceful structural knowledge of heads, and of the tooth-ringed hollow that runs through them; hence the power of his screams and his metamorphosed portraits. But for the most part, his instinct tells him that when you unbutton the tweed and serge encasing the mid-century British male, there lies revealed a rippling, amorphous flood of blubber.

About Francis Bacon in Your Blood

Unaided by anatomy, Bacon thrashes about through much of his career to find formulas to convey this judder of flesh. Short, circling swoops of the brush, topped with little blurts from the paint-tube, prove the most productive device: he gets very exquisite when he finesses them with dusted and printed pigments in the later work. He whips paint into fleshliness with this incessant urgency because the operation promises to deliver a kind of transubstantiating miracle.

This, in other words, is an art whose procedures are dictated by belief. His declamatory anomie now seems to document a certain midth-century crisis mentality whose reference points have since been dissolved, rather in the way that El Greco offers an imaginatively exciting but spiritually distant insight into a peculiar brand of Counter-Reformation piety.

Sylvester brings out what was lovable in his great friend. Looking back, looking harder, they all seem to resolve into one permanent announcement: end of game, grab your takings, get out.

Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma
Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma

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