Largely self-taught as an artist, Francis Bacon (1909-1992)
developed a unique ability to transform interior and unconscious
impulses into figurative forms and intensely claustrophobic
compositions. Emerging into notoriety in the period following World
War II, Bacon took the human body as his nominal subject, but a
subject ravaged, distorted, and dismembered so as to writhe with
intense emotional content. With flailing limbs, hollow voids, and
tumurous growths, his gripping, often grotesque, portraits are as
much reflections on the trials and the traumas of the human
condition as they are character studies. These haunting forms were
also among the first in art history to depict overtly homosexual
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