Francis Bacon, Self-Portrait (1976)
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is one of the famous twentieth century British painter. His works are inscribed in the aesthetic movements that marked the 20thcentury: surrealism, cubism and expressionism. In 1934, Bacon started to paint his solo show strongly influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso, and in the mid 1970’s, he began a prolonged series ofself-portrait heads, painting his own face almost obsessively.
The one we have to analyse is a self-portrait produced in 1976, not huge in its format (78(58cm), and is actually exhibited in Marseille’sMusée Cantini.
What we can see in this figurative painting which belongs to the tradition of the self-portrait, is Bacon’s representation of his own face. Despite some distortion, Bacon’s face is stillrecognizable.If we compare to his photograph, we can notice some likeness: the forelock , the rounded nose, an eye slightly different from the other. What is striking is that the whole face isdistorted as if it were disfigured.
Let us start describing this self-portrait in detail. What is noticebale at first sight is the sculptural black hole with its rim on the right cheek, giving he illusionof depth. The implication is that the rest of the face (extravagantly pear-shaped) is no different from the whole. The left eye takes shape from a rapidly sketched circular movement, remainingattached to considerations of line. Moreover, a blue rounded big nose can be make out, as the raw blotch of white on the chin. There are also a streak of variant colors on the half of his forehead which are:two cold colors (white and blue) and a warm color (red). A shape of red brushstroke can be seen on the left cheek from the eyebrow to the chin If we draw attention to the artist’s palette, we cannotice that the dominant colors are red, blue and white. It’s worth noticing that Bacon’s face is highlighted against an empty black background, in other words, a dark background contrasts with the...
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