"I feel ever so strongly that an artist must be nourished by his passions and his despairs. These things alter an artist whether for the good or the better or the worse. It must alter him. The feelings of desperation and unhappiness are more useful to an artist than the feeling of contentment, because desperation and unhappiness stretch your whole sensibility."  – Bacon

The historic Centre Pompidou in Paris will host a major survey dedicated to famed Irish-born painter, Francis Bacon. Simply titled “Francis Bacon: Books and Painting,” the landmark presentation will spotlight a selection of his emotion-charged portraiture spanning the years between 1971 and 1992. A total of sixty paintings (portraits and self-portraits) including 12 triptychs will go on view. The exhibition will be open from September 11th to January 20th, 2020.


Francis Bacon produced some of the most iconic images of wounded and traumatized humanity in post-war art. Borrowing inspiration from Surrealism, film, photography, and the Old Masters, he forged a distinctive style that made him one of the most widely recognized exponents of figurative art in the 1940s and 1950s. Bacon concentrated his energies on portraiture, often depicting habitues of the bars and clubs of London's Soho neighborhood. His subjects were always portrayed as violently distorted, almost slabs of raw meat, that are isolated souls imprisoned and tormented by existential dilemmas. One of the most successful British painters of the 20th century, Bacon's reputation was elevated further during the "art world's" widespread return to painting in the 1980s, and after his death he became regarded by some as one of the world's most important painters.


Bacon's canvases communicate powerful emotions - whole tableaux seem to scream, not just the people depicted on them. This ability to create such powerful statements were foundational for Bacon's unique achievement in painting.

Bacon established his mature style in the late 1940s when he evolved his earlier Surrealism into an approach that borrowed from depictions of motion in film and photography, in particular the studies of figures in action produced by the early photographer Eadweard Muybridge. From these Bacon not only pioneered new ways to suggest movement in painting, but to bring painting and photography into a more coherent union.


Christopher Nolan, Writer and Director of the "The Dark Knight", was inspired by Bacon in the depiction of Heath Ledgers "Joker." Asking the actor to view Bacon's paintings. Nolan showed interest in the paintings of Francis Bacon. So much in fact, in 2013, he talked in length about how Bacon’s paintings inspired the look of The Joker.

Specifically, Bacon’s triptychs, as shown above, influenced Nolan’s concept of The Joker. The director was struck by the contrast of the contorted face against the black background.

Caglione, makeup Artist shared with The Huffington Post how Nolan used the paintings of Bacon to finalize the look of The Joker. He said, “I remember Chris bringing in a book on Francis Bacon paintings and it was some really great images, really distorted images and that was kind of our bible and we would go off that. That was an inspiration.”