An essay on the pictorial imagery of Francis Bacon
Allen, Carl Melanchthon
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Francis Bacon was born in 1910 in Dublin, Ireland. He began to paint in 1930 upon his arrival in London. Most of his early work, however, was destroyed four years prior to his first one-man show in 19ij.9 (at the Hanover Gallery in London). Bacon’s aesthetic is related to the Surrealists' with regard to his reliance upon naturalism in the representation of objects and their particular arrangement, as a means of producing the picture’s psychic content. The chimerical imagery in his pictures derives from Masterpieces, contemporary news- events and photography. The development of tension on the surfaces of his essentially two-dimensional canvases, indicate his concern with motion. The tension is generated by the contra- postic attitudes of energy and inertia both operative in a single figure. This explosive surface is relieved with more static pictorial elements that hold the figure tenaciously in position, When Bacon composes a serial (a series of several interrelated pictures) the tensions are resolved in the serial as a whole, not singularly in any one of ite pictures. The serial then becomes a narrative of tensions, and when Bacon ’presses out of focus’ natural detail, of obscurities. With these two pictorial qualities, Bacon has developed his aesthetic of partial revelation, fully comprehensible to us at some point between optics and the mind’s eye.