1960 –
Age of Post-Colonialism

Bacon's Triptych - August 1972

Francis Bacon, Triptych - August 1972, 1972, oil on canvas, 72 x 61 x 22 in.
(183 x 155 x 64 cm), (Tate Modern, London)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Steven Zucker

Your Comments (3)

Previous Comments

Darren wrote on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

nicely articulated and contextualised. thank you.

Alix wrote on Tuesday, March 05, 2013

This film does an excellent job of contextualizing the piece as well as providing some understanding of Bacon’s mind set. As this work was produced postwar, the theme of gore and distortion is a telling factor. When analyzed trough a physiological lens Francis Bacon’s approach to his confrontation with death seems to be visually depicted and processed similarly to that of Otto Dix. Personally I can see visual cues that are similar in both style and the artistes’ approaches of a similar topic. The film makes a link between the subject matter and its presenting; the commentator goes on to explain the meaning of the use of triptych. This allowed for a deeper understanding of the work. I could go further by making a comparison by saying that the motivation of using a triptych can parallel those of Max Beckman. Both artists who wish to use this format to relate to human suffering as it is a typical religious method of depicting images of sorrow. This work seems to present what the artist thought of life at its most fundamental state, in the moment when the human protagonist is stripped of all pretense and decorum. This piece, as would many of Bacon’s works, would be uncomfortable to view in person. Its triptych presentation comes off the wall and towards the viewer creating a sense of unease. This sense of unease is then amplified by the subject matter and the visual tension.

Brittany Lamers wrote on Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Bacon’s work is very personal, especially this triptych which I find very interesting to the artist’s character. It is so powerful, especially the way that he handled the figures in his paintings. He can paint the figures so beautifully but he abstracts them to a state where they have been cut away, fragmented or melting to express his own inner turmoil. It is so disturbing the compositional elementsl, but yet this work keeps speaking to me as beauty.

Add Comments

We think Smarthistory works best when it prompts discussion. Please post (on-topic) comments.*

*All comments are moderated

To post a comment, you need the Adobe Flash Plugin. Download it from here.
This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.