The power of Francis Bacon’s (1909–1992) art lies, in part, in the contradictory range of responses that it evokes. Some viewers experience his paintings as energetic and uplifting; others react to the despondent and annihilating qualities of Bacon’s oeuvre. This polarization of expression is encapsulated in an oxymoron that Bacon coined: “exhilarated sense of despair.”² Unpacking this phrase further we see that the extremes need not only be viewed as contradictory but also as part of his sensibility. The despair may characterize Bacon’s observation of his historical environment.
|Title of host publication
|Subtitle of host publication
|Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art
|James Romaine, Linda Stratford
|Place of Publication
|Number of pages
|Published - 2013