January 21, 2011

Great Art-Bad Philosophy Week: Francis Bacon's second version of "Painting"

This week I'm going to showcase great works of art which reflect some sort of terrible philosophical stance. Many of these works I enjoy and respect from an artistic standpoint though I don't share the artist's philosophy.

While Francis Bacon's paintings commonly elicit powerful feelings of revulsion and disgust, this attests to their quality as works of art--not to their being something other than art. Fortunately, I don't think there are many people who share his utterly defeatist view of life or his incredibly unhealthy psychological state to extent that he embodied them in his paintings.

I have great admiration for Bacon's compositional ingenuity, his expressive and unique color relationships and the way his painterly marks are cleverly integrated into the subject among other things. He was a staunch opponent of non-representational painting and though he occaisionally splattered paint Pollock-style, he always did so in such as way that the paint was integrated into the image being represented. Unlike Picasso who mostly used a "Cubist space" for it's own sake--a pointless novelty--Bacon used a disjunctive spatial depiction to enhance the nightmarish and confused tone of his work.

A brilliant artist and an absolutely wretched person.

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