Fresh Lens

Francis Bacon's Inspirational Photos on Display

It may have been Francis Bacon’s abstract paintings that made him the world’s most expensive living painter in the 1980s, but it was the details of photographs that allowed him to express himself via tortured human figures. After his death in 1992, Bacon left behind numerous photos, film stills, magazines, and books from which he drew inspiration and which can now be seen in Francis Bacon: In Camera at Compton Verney in England. While it may not be the medium for which he is known, the new exhibition sheds light on how the acclaimed artist worked and how he turned the realism of photography into abstract art. Since he had not studied anatomy nor had he drawn from a live model, Bacon scrutinized over Eadweard Muybridge’s photos of human and animals in motion to understand the way the body worked. Though his subjects often had no heads or multiple heads, Bacon was inspired by Muybridge’s photos and those of others throughout his artistic process.