Francis Bacon – Man and Beast
Royal Academy of Arts – Jan 29 to April 29, 2022 London (UK)
Explore the visceral paintings of Francis Bacon. Where the border between human and animal is constantly blurred. Reminding us that our primary instincts lie just below the surface.
Irish-born artist Francis Bacon was the son of the horse breeder who became one of the most important painters of the 20th century.
An openly homosexual man at a time when homosexuality was illegal. He was banished from his conservative family home by his father at 16. After that he passed through Berlin and Paris before settling in London. Then, with his formative years paralleled some of the most deeply disturbing events of the 20th century.
This powerful exhibit will focus on Bacon’s unerring fascination with animals. How it both shaped and distorted his approach to the human body. How, taken in the most extreme moments of existence, his characters are barely recognizable as humans or beasts.
It also explores how Bacon was fascinated by the movement of animals, observing animals in the wild on trips to South Africa. Filling his studio with wildlife books and constantly referencing Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th century photographs of humans and animals in motion. Whether it’s chimpanzees, bulls, dogs or birds of prey. Bacon felt he could get closer to the true nature of humanity by observing the uninhibited behavior of animals.
50 years of career.
Spanning Bacon’s 50-year career, highlights include some of Bacon’s early works and his latest painting. As well as a trio of corrida paintings which will be exhibited together for the first time.
Taken together, these raw expressions of anxiety and instinct – both animal and human – feel poignantly relevant today.
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