Artists ‘ Lives by Michael Peppiatt
Artists’ Lives, a book written by Michael Peppiatt and published by Thames & Hudson, is a captivating resource for individuals eager to delve into the lives of the imaginative visionaries of our time. With a keen focus on figures like Van Gogh and Dora Maar, Peppiatt grants readers a profound understanding of the art world’s most renowned personalities. While engrossed in these pages, one can virtually accompany Lucian Freud in his Bentley, partake in a drink with Francis Bacon, or even visit artist Antoni Tapies in his studio. Additionally, Peppiatt introduces us to lesser-known individuals like Zoran Music and Montenegrin artist Dado. Comprised of insightful essays, this compilation intertwines art analysis with captivating anecdotes, offering a truly personal and unparalleled understanding of modernism and post-war painting. Artists’ Lives is an absolute must-read for art enthusiasts seeking an immersive exploration of the lives and works of trailblazing figures in the art world.
Bacon: Man and Beast – A Reevaluation of Francis Bacon’s Artistic Vision
I believe this article offers a fresh perspective on the artwork of Bacon. Traditionally, people have viewed Bacon as a painter who focused on single figures in confined spaces, exploring the human condition in extreme situations. However, a deeper examination reveals that animals play a significant role in his work, sometimes even overshadowing human figures. This leads to the exploration of the relationship between man and beast and how it shapes Bacon’s overall vision of humanity.
Bacon himself expressed how animals captivated him because of their lack of inhibitions. They presented themselves as they truly were, which fascinated him in his study of mankind. Animals became a direct and efficient guide to understanding human nature. Interestingly, Bacon sometimes portrayed animals as less ferocious and savage compared to his human subjects. This shifting relationship between animals and humans highlights the complex dynamics between the two.
While Bacon’s art continues to evoke horror and raw emotions, the power of his work has somewhat been absorbed over the years. Even after 80 years of his artistry, his images still shock and surprise viewers, delivering visual jolts and thought-provoking messages. The images express the brutal truth, a phrase Bacon himself used, leaving little room for hope. Yet, this reality remains an integral part of his work, challenging both the spectators and their acceptance of the rawness.
Though presented in prestigious galleries, Bacon’s art maintains the urgency of an old master who still cries out from the past. The juxtaposition of his work in elaborate spaces and its powerful impact creates an extraordinary experience. It forces viewers to reassess their opinions and see Bacon’s art through a fresh lens, offering a different, thought-provoking context. This perspective is currently on display at the Royal Academy, encouraging an entirely new interpretation for those who have spent years contemplating his work.
After 60 years of forming opinions about Bacon, this exhibition requires re-evaluation and the opportunity to see his art with a renewed understanding.