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Fatum as Theme and Method in the Work of Francis Bacon

John G. Hatch
Artibus et Historiae
Vol. 19, No. 37 (1998), pp. 163-175
Published by: IRSA s.c.
DOI: 10.2307/1483616
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1483616
Page Count: 13
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Fatum as Theme and Method in the Work of Francis Bacon
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Abstract

The paintings of Francis Bacon embody his passionate and determined challenge of "fate" in its various guises. His marked fascination for Aeschylus' Orestes or Christ rests with their having questioned fate, while the Eumenides or Furies of Greek mythology, first presented in "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of Crucifixion" (1944), became a leitmotif in the English painter's work. Even the manner in which Bacon approached the canvas was described by him as a struggle between the artist's will and the 'inevitability' of the paint. But what is fate for many of us Bacon preferred to call chance or accident. The distinction for him rested with the artificial explanations or beliefs we impose upon life. Bacon attacked these relentlessly because they engender an unquestioning and destructive acceptance of the vagaries of life, or, simply put, they result in a fantastic approach to life.

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