Great commentary on Bacon with paintings I’ve not seen before, thanks
Bacon and the Masters, Norwich (UEA)
Afraid this exhibition is now finished – I got to see it in its last week – so its a bit redundant now to review it. However, I’m rather redundant myself, so here’s a few words. First, I have to take issue with Jonathan Jones’ assessment in the Guardian; he thought the “Masters” (Matisse, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Van Gogh, Bernini et al), whose works Bacon used as templates or providers of inspiration, actually made Bacon’s efforts look rather “silly”. His previous admiration for the British painter evaporated in the presence of the Masters.
There is no doubt that the Rembrandts are striking and the terracotta Bernini torsos staggeringly powerful, even though small; my feeling is, however, that Bacon’s work stands up well and does justice to those whose works he used – or rather, the photographs of them, since he famously avoided seeing the originals.
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