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Francis Bacon: The Human Body Paperback – March 31, 1998


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Paperback, March 31, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (March 31, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520215397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520215399
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Sylvester is a critic and writer and author of Interviews with Francis Bacon. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 12, 2001
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David Sylvester is one of the finest biographers of contemporary painters on the shelves today. His insights into such obtuse minds as Giocomettti and de Kooning and Francis Bacon have brought us, the viewer and thinker, closer to the real synapses at work. In this lavishly illustrated catalogue the emphasis is on the whole human body - alone, in confined spaces, distorted and reassembled in triptychs. Sylvester opens this format with terse discussions about particular paintings, using only black and white details of the works he is discussing. Then, once we have the groundwork established, the last half of the book is simply the paintings, printed on the finest peper, with foldouts that do justice to the triptychs and color separations that are as near to the originals as is possible. A feast for the eyes and mind....and imagination.
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By Intars on July 4, 2008
Not so long before I had no idea of who Bacon was and what he painted. Remember how I once skipped lectures in university and played PSX game Silent Hill all day along. In Making OF of this game I first time heard that some art inspiration for game was taken from Bacon paintings. And so I came to Bacon and his art :)
Personally for me, and again just for me, I gave this book 5 stars because pictures here catch my eye like none art before. Bacons pictures by some reason looks stunning and scary at the same time. This book contains his pictures of human body theme only, as a cover says. I liked the way author gone - less text, more pictures. Second half of the book is containing just paintings with minimum comments below, mainly one paint picture on whole page. There are also few "three page rollout" inserts, showing few Bacon's triptych paintings which I liked. Pictures of second half is fully colourfull, first half of the book contains one page for text and other page for black and white, zoomed in picture of Bacon, that gives kinda cool look.
This book will gave it's best to filmmakers, animators, concept artists, scriptwriters, Bacon enthusiasts who seek to take inspiration for horror art, movies, animations, whatever.
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This monograph includes an essay by art critic David Sylvester and a selection of the paintings of Francis Bacon that illustrate the concepts that Sylvester explores. There is a brief but concise biography of Bacon at the end of the monograph that I found insightful and meaningful in interpretation of the work of this renowned artist. Bacon's early work in 1943 is often linked to Picasso but the painting Figure Study II from 1945 would reveal a unique visual sensibility that demonstrates formalistic structures in the composition and yet expressionistic central content, a screaming head, and bold color mastery.

George Dyer, a burglar, was Bacon's lover during significant middle period in his career and Dyer often is the subject of the paintings. The paintings, particularly a triptych, of the night Dyer died in a Paris hotel room are very powerful. Dyer is shown vomiting into a sink and then dying on the toilet. There are few paintings with this degree of pain and honesty and mastery. I say mastery for the subject was extremely close to Bacon and the more personal the subject matter, the more difficult to control the imagery, and the larger the struggle as to what is revealed and what is hidden. There is a fine fold out reproduction of this triptych.

The Sylvester essay refers to the influence of both Bonnard and Degas on Bacon. Bacon admired the application of the paint in the work of Bonnard. Bonnard's approach to paint is minimal as he scruffs paint into the canvas, leaving areas blank and almost unfinished, with the uneven application evoking the cast of light on surface. The type of paint application is seen in Study from the Human Body, 1949; Painting, 1950; Study for a Nude, 1951; and Study of a Nude, 1952-53.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By expressionist painter on April 28, 2008
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I think I had a false expectation. I expected something 'more' - images similar to the Bacon images in 'Van Gogh and Expressionism' which are stunning and vibrantly colorful. The images in this book fell short of that. Had I looked through this book in a bookstore, I would not have purchased. I should have done more research on Bacon before purchasing this and the Bacon portraits book which also was a disappointment but better than this one.
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