Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Bacon from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

Francis Bacon 1909–1992 Brit. (Irish-born) painter

Summary Article: Bacon, Francis, English painter
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

1910–92, English painter, b. Dublin. A self-taught artist, Bacon rejected abstraction in painting to explore a repertoire of strange, fractured, and often bizarre figurative images, many replete with homosexual, sadomasochistic, and fetishistic undertones. He became the center of a storm of controversy with his breakthrough painting Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944; Tate Gall., London), which portrayed carcasslike figures on crosses. He painted a series of variations on figural themes, e.g., Van Gogh Goes to Work, Velázquez's Innocent X. Often large in scale, Bacon's works, which frequently use photographs or printed materials as sources for their imagery, focus on shockingly grotesque and brutally satiric themes. From the 1950s—the era of his famously grim screaming popes—onward his images became increasingly distorted and abstract, sometimes merging human and animal forms.

  • See exhibition catalogs from Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (1989), Francis Bacon: A Retrospective (1999), and Tate Museum, London, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008, ed. by M. Gale; C. Stephens);.
  • Sylvester, D. , Interviews with Francis Bacon (1975, repr. 1988),.
  • Francis Bacon: In Conversation with Michel Archimbaud (1993), and.
  • Peppiatt, M. , Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait: Essays and Interviews (2008); .
  • Peppiatt, Francis Bacon in Your Blood (2016);.
  • biographies by J. Russell (1979), A. Sinclair (1993), and M. Peppiatt (rev. ed. 2009);.
  • studies by E. van Alphen (1993), W. Schmied (1996, tr. 2006), D. Sylvester (2000), G. Deleuze (2004), M. Harrison (2005), M. Peppiatt (2006), and R. Chiappini (2008).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Bacon Francis (1909 - 1992)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

The British painter Francis Bacon was born in Dublin. In 1928 or 1929 he went to London where he worked as an interior decorator....

Full text Article Bacon, Francis (1909-92)
Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase and Fable

Painter. He was born on 28 October 1909 in Baggot Street, Dublin, to English parents. His mother, Winifred Margaret Supple, was a Yorkshire...

Full text Article Bacon, Francis (1909 - 1992)
The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of British Art

Bacon has achieved wider international recognition than any other British painter this century. Brought up in Ireland, he had no...

See more from Credo