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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in England
Francis Bacon



Francis Bacon: <EM>Study for Pope III</EM>, 1961Private Collection –Courtesy Massimo Martino Fine Arts &amp; Projects, Mendrisio ©The Estate of Francis Bacon / VEGAP, Valencia 2003
Francis Bacon: Study for Pope III, 1961
Private Collection –Courtesy Massimo Martino Fine Arts & Projects, Mendrisio
©The Estate of Francis Bacon / VEGAP, Valencia 2003
Francis Bacon
ENGLAND
LONDON  •  Tate Britain  •  Ongoing
 

From the 1940s to his death the Irish-born British figurative painter, Francis Bacon  (1909 –1992) worked consistently as a painter, ignoring other passing, fashionable trends in art. Throughout his career, the human figure was the dominant subject in his work: his paintings of men and women go far beyond a simple likeness and instead are portraits of complex psychological states. These paintings are displayed just as they were when they were first made, with many other paintings of animals and visceral landscapes. Exhibition highlights include Bacon's infamous portraits of Pope Innocent X and celebrated triptychs such as Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962.

Bacon had been haunted by the power and beauty of Velázquez’s Retrato de Inocencio X (Portrait of Innocent X) for years before he painted Head VI, his first recognizable version of the picture, in 1949. He considered the Spanish master’s portrait to be one of the greatest images in all Western art and he had, in his own words, become “obsessed” with it. Reproductions of the famous painting, mostly in black and white, were pinned to his studio wall or scattered in the chaos of photographs and artist’s materials that littered the floor. At one point, Bacon likened his fascination with this particular image to a “crush” —the kind of semi-erotic hero-worship a young boy may develop for an older, more important pupil at school.



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