The English artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was one of the most powerful and original figure painters in contemporary art, particularly noted for the obsessive intensity of his work.


    Francis Bacon (a collateral descendant of the great Elizabethan statesman and essayist of the same name) was born in Dublin on October 28, 1909, to English parents. He left home at the age of 16, and after spending two years in Berlin and Paris he settled in London with the intention of establishing himself as an interior decorator and furniture designer. However, he soon gave up interior decorating for painting, in which he was self-taught. The few early paintings that survive (he destroyed most of them) show that he began as a late cubist and then turned by 1932 to an agonized form of surrealism based partly on Pablo Picasso's works of about 1925 to 1928.


  • William Blake (November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, his work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual arts. He has often been credited as being the most spiritual writer of his time.

    According to Northrop Frye, who undertook a study of Blake's entire poetic corpus, his prophetic poems form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language." Others have praised Blake's visual artistry, at least one modern critic proclaiming Blake "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced."

    While his visual art and written poetry are usually considered separately, Blake often employed them in concert to create a product that at once defied and superseded convention. Though he believed himself able to converse aloud with Old Testament prophets, and despite his work in illustrating the Book of Job, Blake's affection for the Bible was belied by his hostility for the church, his beliefs modified by a fascination with Mysticism and the unfolding of the Romantic movement around him. Ultimately, the difficulty of placing William Blake in any one chronological stage of art history is perhaps the distinction that best defines him.

    Once considered mad for his single-mindedness, Blake is highly regarded today for his expressiveness and creativity, and the philosophical vision that underlies his work. As he himself once indicated, "The imagination is not a State: it is the Human existence itself."

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  • Francis Bacon

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  • Crucifixion, 1933

    " I think one of the things is that, if you are going to be a painter, you have got to decide that you are not going to be afraid of making a fool of yourself.
    I think another thing is to be able to find subjects which really absorb you to try and do.
    I feel that with out a subject you automatically go back into decoration because you haven't got the subject which is always eating into you to bring it back - and the greatest art always returns you to the vulnerability of the human situation ".

    Francis Bacon

    Crucifixion (1933)

    Douglas Cooper, then curator (and part owner/co-director with Fred Mayor) of the Mayor Gallery, in Cork Street, arranged for one of Bacon's paintings, Women in the Sunlight (destroyed without trace), to be included a group show in April 1933.

    It was also thanks to Cooper that Bacon's Crucifixion (1933) was reproduced in Herbert Read's book Art Now(opposite a 1929 Baigneuse by Picasso — plates 60/61). The publication was accompanied by an exhibition of the works, in October, at the Mayor Gallery, where Crucifixion (1933) was shown as Composition. 1933.

    Crucifixion (1933) (oil on canvas) was subsequently purchased by Sir Michael Sadler (who, other than friends or relations, was the first to buy a painting), and who also commissioned a second version, Crucifixion (1933) (chalk, gouache and pencil), and sent Bacon an x-ray photograph of his own skull, with a request that he paint a portrait from it. Bacon duly incorporated the x-ray directly into The Crucifixion (1933).

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    Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953) (Des Moines)

    Completed, and delivered to the Beaux-Arts gallery in February 1953, of Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953), Bacon said "I wanted to paint a head as if folded in on itself, like the folds of a curtain. The Titian Portrait of Cardinal Filippo Archinto (c.1551-1562) is often cited as an ancestor to this device.

    Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Anglo-Irish figurative painter. He was a collateral descendant of the Elizabethan philosopher Francis Bacon. His artwork was well-known for its bold, austere, and often grotesque or nightmarish imagery.


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