Humanities Moments

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

Contributed by Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center
Francis Bacon, “Study for Figure at the Base of a Crucifixion”
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 Hirschhorn Museum left Robert D. 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.”

Title

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

Description

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 Hirschhorn Museum left Robert D. 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.”

Contributor

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

Identifier

robert-newman-francis-bacon-paintings

Location

Collection