Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

Contributed by Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center

Description

Robert D. Newman describes the experience of encountering Francis Bacon's paintings for the first time.

Why is this a Humanities Moment?

The disturbing art of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon often violates formal boundaries of the human. Consequently, a visit to a retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Hirshhorn Museum left Newman deeply unsettled. As a humanities moment, this encounter compelled Newman to grapple with Bacon’s art, sorting through “contradictory emotions,” ultimately growing “as a being and as a self.”

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Title

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

Subject

The disturbing art of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon often violates formal boundaries of the human. Consequently, a visit to a retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Hirshhorn Museum left Newman deeply unsettled. As a humanities moment, this encounter compelled Newman to grapple with Bacon’s art, sorting through “contradictory emotions,” ultimately growing “as a being and as a self.”

Description

Robert D. Newman describes the experience of encountering Francis Bacon's paintings for the first time.

Contributor

Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center

Identifier

robert-newman-francis-bacon-paintings

Location

Collection

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