Francis Bacon

After visiting the Bacon to Doig exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff I discovered some of Francis Bacon’s self portraits and portraits of others. I really like the way in which Bacon completely distorts the identity and characteristics of the sitter, creating figures whose identity is completely unrecognisable. This lack of identity appears to be prominent throughout Bacon’s work as in other paintings the sitter disappears into the background, leaving no trace of their existence in the areas faded away.

In Bacon’s ‘Study for Self Portrait’ his facial features have shifted around and blended into each other. You can just about recognise the eyes, nose and mouth but all are so blurred that there is no way you would be able to identify Bacon without the artwork’s title. There is a hint of a person without them fully being there. There seems to be a darker side to Bacon’s portrais, I think showing torment in the mind of the sitter both through the choice of expression and painting technique. The background is a matte black which further amplifies this idea.

I find Bacon’s work relevant to all of my subject practice, but more closely to my study of my Nan’s Alzheimer’s, especially in works such as ‘Study for Self Portrait’. The jumbling and blurring of facial features leads to a loss of identity in the paintings, which has had influence in my final pieces with the jumbling up of my Nan’s face. The only difference is that I have used geometric shapes. I also really liked the idea of fading into the background which I think is a technique that influenced some of my paintings in my ‘Life on Roaccutane’ series.

‘Study for Self Portrait’


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BA (Hons) Fine Art Student at Cardiff Metropolitan University

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