The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

European Art After World War II

Who was Francis Bacon?

Francis Bacon (1909–1992) was a British painter whose expressive, figurative works often depict scenes of psychological horror. Bacon is often categorized as an Existentialist artist. His paintings of Pope Innocent X were modeled after a portrait done by Velazquez in the sixteenth century; however, Bacon’s pope sits within the confines of a cage-like throne, his face smeared with aggressive streaks of paint against a menacingly black background. Bacon’s paintings depict intense scenes of anguish. The artist himself said, “I hope to make the best human cry in painting… to remake the violence of reality itself” (as quoted in Stokstad 1128).


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