Francis Bacon ~ “Study for Portrait of Michel Leiris”, 1978 …(Anglo-Irish, 1909-1992, b. Dublin, Ireland) – Etching and Aquatint on Arches Paper (via red-lipstick) Michel Leiris (1901 – 1990) was perhaps Bacon’s closest intellectual friend. He was an anthropologist, writer and poet and for much of the twentieth century, Leiris was at the forefront of French intellectual life. He was intimately connected with the Surrealist movement and was also a friend of Picasso’s. During his many visits to Paris, Bacon would often lunch with Leiris who seems to have greatly influenced Bacon’s thinking. He was also the subject of one of Bacon’s paintings, Study for Portrait of Michel Leiris, 1978. Leiris would later produce a well-illustrated monograph on Bacon’s oeuvre and he also translated Bacon’s interviews with David Sylvester into French. [source]

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Francis Bacon ~ “Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X”, 1953 This Irish twentieth-century artist was seemingly obsessed with Velázquez’s portrait. Although he scrupulously avoided seeing the original, Bacon collected reproduction after reproduction of Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, becoming intimately familiar with the painting. In Bacon’s own words, “I think it is one of the greatest portraits that has ever been made and I became obsessed by it. I buy book after book with this illustration in it of the Velazquez Pope, because it haunts me.” Around 1950, Bacon began a series of paintings inspired by the Baroque masterpiece, which are recognized today as some of the most chilling, eerily haunting works of art ever to grace a museum. [source]

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Francis Bacon English painter. One of the most individual, powerful and disturbing artists of the period following World War II, he took the human figure as his subject at a time when art was dominated by abstract styles, and he was also one of the first to depict overtly homosexual themes. Though largely self-taught, he was widely read and of great independence of mind. His subject-matter and procedures of painting are too personal to be imitated with any real success by other artists, but in Britain and further afield he remains a towering example to those dedicated to the depiction of the human figure. © 2009 Oxford University Press

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