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Francis Bacon (painter)

Alternate meanings: Francis Bacon (philosopher)

Francis Bacon (October 28, 1909 - April 28, 1992) was a British expressionist artist and painter.

Bacon was born in Dublin, Ireland to English parents. The family moved back and forth between Dublin and London several times while he was growing up. He was a sickly child, and his father attempted to "toughen him up" by having his son horsewhipped. He was expelled from his family in 1925 when his homosexuality was discovered.

Bacon then spent a few months in Berlin, then a year and a half in Paris, before returning to London and starting out as an interior designer. An exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso inspired him to make his first drawings and paintings. The influence of the biomorphic figures in Picasso's works is apparent in Bacon's first major painting of his mature period, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944). This painting is also representative of some of Bacon's methods and subjects: the triptych, the scream, and the lone figure against a stark backgroud.

Bacon was largely self-taught as an artist. His influences included Pablo Picasso, Diego Velazquez and the Surrealist movement. He once said that his most important surrealist influence was not a fellow painter but rather the films of Luis Buñuel. Bacon also drew inspiration from photographs (especially those of Eadweard Muybridge), the poems of T.S. Eliot, the plays of Aeschylus, and the chaos of his famous studio. About the studio, Bacon remarked, "For me, chaos breeds images."

Bacon was disdainful of his work from before 1944 and destroyed the majority of it. He also destroyed an unknown number of works throughout his lifetime.

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Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45