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Francis Bacon – The Portraits

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Francis Bacon was born in Dublin, Ireland to English parents. When F.

Bacon grow up and was more independent he then travelled to Berlin

were he spent most of his time there. He then moved onto Paris, before

returning to London and starting out as an interior designer. Bacon

never attended art school; he only began his work in watercolours

about 1926 – 27. 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 work is apparent in Bacons 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 Portraits influenced me because in my project ‘Journey’s’ I am

looking at car crashes and what things lead to car crashes e.g. Drink

driving. I wanted to see how drink affects the brain and how the brain

reacts to the effects. As Bacon in this particular painting of this,

distorted image of a face, I thought this would be a great image to

use in my project. Using this image would help me to see what people,

who drink drive, see while they are driving. So using this distorted

image it showed me how incontrollable people are when drink driving.

The image provides strong movement due to the harsh sweeps of paint.

In the painting I noticed how Bacon used basic elements to give a

distinctive image. He has used a thick paint brush and he probably

only did about 15 brush strokes. The composition of the study is

life-like and has made sure that he includes every detail of the face.

By having the face on an angle and the thick brush strokes it shows me

that this person maybe scared or has just seen some object that is

distracting him, also it looks like he moved his face with some rapid

force. Each of the colours contrasts well and gives a representation

of a face. The shapes used in the composition of the painting are

mostly round or even sphere shape. Bacon has used a lot of texture in

the paint to show the different elements, e.g. the thick white brush

stroke represents the cheekbone and the dark stroke for under the


The process of the painting that Bacon has gone through were sketching

out the outline of the face and the facial features then I imagine he

took the brush and with some force started to map out the face while

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