Francis Bacon in Palazzo Reale

Extended until 28th of August the exhibition that Palazzo Reale in Milan, in cooperation with Skira and Arthemisia organizes about Francis Bacon. He is considered the last of the great 20th century masters and the one who could transmit the uneasiness of the modern man in painting.

Francis Bacon in MilanWith this great event, the city of Milan wants to celebrate the centenary of Bacon’s birth that will occurr next year.

The exposition, handled by Professor Rudy Chiappini, shows in an exhaustive way the artistic career of the irish artist through its works coming from the most important museums and collections worldwide.

The core of the artistic display provides for the exposition of over one hundred works, almost all as yet unknown here in Italy, including eighty-two paintings and about fifteen drawings, plus as many objects that are part of the archive material carrying the artist’s mark. More than fifty years of career described by a large number of works which range from paintings to sketches and pictures.

A room of Palazzo Reale presents, for the first time in Italy, the photographic reproduction of Bacon’s studio of London, which was the little microcosm where he lived between 1961 and 1992, the chaotic studio where he kept all his books, papers, sketches, colours, canvases, photographs and notes, and everything else that could be a source of inspiration for him. The show opens with a set of important works on paper, which were only found after the artist’s death and have never been displayed in Italy before. Then it continues with the paintings dating back to the years after the Second World War, when Bacon made himself known at an international level thanks to the “Studies for Figures” and to his “Heads”.

Special attention is given to document Bacon’s activity in the ’50s, which was devoted to portraits made just for his friends or made to order. These paintings are dwelled by blurred and ghastly figures, desfigured and deformed faces and bodies disappearing into the darkness of the background. During the following decade, his characters started appearing in a more definite and lit space and they gain volume and expressiveness. In the great triptychs of the ’70s, his care for individual subjects had become slightly exasperating.

Among the works exposed, we mention in particular “Three Studies of the Male Back” and “Triptych”. Only during the later years of his life, Bacon stopped “fighting” with the characters of his paintings, showing their inner essence and transforming them into a few spots of colour clotted on neutral backgrounds.

A voyage within the deepest corner of man’s inner life and, at the same time, within the current reality of a devastated society, which is perceived in his masterpieces through the anonymous and incorporeal figures screaming their despair with a singular feel for death. Bacon moved in the wake of surrealism but his art had some features that made it unique and unknown to every artistic movement existent. He represented the human being in a condition of conflict between rationality and irrationality, so that in the end they appeared like disturbing monsters, disquieting and undistinguished bodies.

One of Bacon’s most famous and fascinating themes is the one devoted to popes’s and to men with tie’s paintings. These topics appear quite frequently in his artistic production. These figures are represented in an endless scream of pain, the metaphor of man’s nature. Bacon had an extraordinary creative ability, he tried to reproduce the highest emotion possible into his masterpieces. Reality is transfigured and twisted by the artist, so that he can show its inner essence. The individual subjects of its works try to move, to take shape in desolated and empty spaces, characterized by a few plain objects, which often recur in its production (bulbs, dentist’s chairs, small tables, doors).

Bacon balanced between the horrid and the sublime, revealing the paradoxical nature of the human condition, which can be terrible and wonderful at the same time. The most intimate pains of the individual are the reflections of the deep uneasiness of modern society, which can’t face decay and death. It’s not just chance that at first Bacon took inspiration from Picasso, but lately he found its artistic self in the expressionism of Van Gogh and Munch. The greatness of this artist consists in his ability to transform his personal and troubled discomfort into a universal pain, moving from his peculiar subjectivity towards universal human nature, through the ambiguous figures of his works.

The exposition is one of the most important events of Milan’s cultural life and also a unique occasion to get close to Francis Bacon’s works.

Opening hours: Mon 2.30pm – 7.30pm; Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 9.30am – 7.30pm; Thurs 9.30am – 10.30 p.m.

Full price 9 euro; Reduced price 7 euro

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