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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bacon retrospective at Prado

Takir Hossain

writes from Madrid, April 18, 2009

Francis Bacon is an internationally reputed painter whose retrospective exhibition is now on at the Prado Museum (Museo Del Prado), Madrid, one of the oldest and significant museums in the world. Prado has jointly organised the exhibition with Tate Britain in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.Bacon is one of the most powerful English painters of the 20th century. In the exhibition, the Prado aims to recall Bacon´s death in Madrid on April 29, 1992 and his visits to the museum towards the end of his life.

Bacon was unique in his vision, dream and expression. As an experimental painter, he delved into figures and searched for inner struggle and pain of human beings through his uncanny paintings. In particular, facial expressions and various parts of the human body are his focal point. His artwork is recognised for its aggressive, bold, brutal, homoerotism and horrifying imagery. He did not hesitate to draw anything in his lifetime. His vision of the world was entirely individual, surrounding images of sensuality and cruelty. Most of his figures are distorted, deformed and his artistic obsessions were clearly expressed. Portraits were very important for Bacon and he defined them as the classic 20th century genre. 

When Bacon first emerged to public recognition, in the aftermath of the Second World War, his paintings were addressed with horror and awfulness. Reference to poetry and drama became a central element in his work of the 1960s and he had become the leading figure of avant-garde British Art. One could simply say that he was original in his thinking process and innovative ideas. By closely observing his works, it characteristically shows an isolated manly figure in a cage. The figure carries a different perspective and almost brawny movement. Red, orange, blue and black are the predominant aspects in his works.

Bacon painted his friend John Edwards, whom he met in 1976. Here he is represented dressed only in underpants on a chair. His right leg is crossed and shoulder turned forward.

At the exhibition, the selection of 62 paintings by Bacon is displayed in a chronological order and in various thematic sections of his work at different decades of his career: specifically Animal, Apprehension, Crucifixion, Zone, Crisis, Archive, Portrait, Memorial, Epic and Late.

The exhibition ends on April 19.


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