Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma Paperback – 11 Sep 2008
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Brilliantly and evocatively written. (Antonia Fraser Daily Mail)
[Peppiatt's] account of the evolution of Bacon's artistic ideas is confident, amusing and thought-provoking. (Richard Davenport-Hines The Independent)
This account of a life, as Peppiatt puts it, "filled with the extremes of human emotion and devoted to expressing them with utmost force," is probably more readable and enjoyable than the attempts at exhaustive biography which surely lie ahead. (Gilbert De Botton, Literary Review)
Anatomy of an Engima will surely remain a uniquely authoritative and readable account of the man who once confided, 'it may sound pretentious but you see I have had the most extraordinary life'. (Literary Review)
One of the most important and insightful writings on the artist (Art Newspaper)
The definitive biography of Francis Bacon, re-issued with substantial new material to co-incide with a major retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Bacon's father is depicted as a key figure, as well as a leitmotif of brutal masculinity in Bacon's paintings. A tyrannical, martial man, (according to Peppiatt, he has his teenage son horsewhipped by his grooms in order to `make him more of a man') he is the very antithesis of the highly intelligent, young, unconventional Bacon. This early encounter with such brutality goes some way to explaining the power and masculine energy so apparent in Bacon's paintings, as well as the sado-masochistic and destructive nature of his sexual relationships.
Peppiatt describes Bacon's influences - Picasso's biomorhic figures as well as his 'Crucifixion', the photographic images of Edweard Muybridge, Velasquez's 'Pope Innocent X', which inspired the 'Screaming Pope' series.
Bacon's days spent as `bon viveur', drinking vast quantities of alcohol at the Colony in Soho, with the cliquey, languorous dry wit of camp proprietress, Muriel Belcher is captured wonderfully ("Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends!", as Bacon once declared), as well as his slightly alarming brush with the Kray twins (who fascinated him), and his doomed relationship with his tragic muse, George Dyer.
All in all this is an immensely enjoyable read as well as providing a real insight into the artist and his work.
1996 biography of the painter Francis Bacon is a marvelous
read. Mr Bacon was well-known for the transitory, volatile
and extremely unpredictable nature of his attachments but
Mr Peppiatt has come closer than most in giving us an insight
into the life, mind and work of one of the greatest artists
of the last century. (Daniel Farson's 1993 portrait 'The Gilded
Gutter Life Of Francis Bacon' is an equally important study).
Mr Peppiatt dares to go where many have tried and failed in
making connections between Mr Bacon's knowingly slippery and
highly changeable accounts of his own history and his astonishing
creative legacy. Sifting through the fragments of his life
(a procedure not unlike the quasi-archaeological reconstruction
of Mr Bacon's Reece Mews studio in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin)
the author offers up invaluable material which casts new light on
the elusive workings of the artist's highly complex emotional and
aesthetic sensibilities. Although he was infamously stubborn in
allowing a narrative reading of his paintings, wanting instead to :
"open up the valves of feeling" (such a wonderful notion!!) his many
conversations with Mr Peppiatt from 1963 until his death in 1992 allow
for a fuller and in some ways more humane understanding of his work.
The paintings will stand the test of time. Although he had his
detractors (not that their views troubled him particularly - his
magnificently arch beligerance was both his sword and his shield!)
Mr Bacon emerges from these pages with his resplendent vitality
and appetite for the glorious futility of existence fully intact!Read more ›
All I can say is well done. I was held spellbound throughout. I made copious notes and will read the book again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The definitive biography of one of the 20th Century's greatest painters by someone who knew him very well and understood his art.Published 5 months ago by Fred Normal
Don't really care about this book. It was interesting up to the point where you realise you shouldn't give a s**tPublished 22 months ago by Anon
I find the work of Bacon fascinating and was eager to learn more about his life - this is the first book I selected - based on the good reviews on here and I was most satisfied. Read morePublished on 29 May 2011 by Fleur Pillager
Francis Bacon never ceases to amaze me in this in-depth account of Bacon's frantic and chaotic life as one of Britain's best known painters and explains how & why he behaved in the... Read morePublished on 11 Feb. 2009 by Mr. M. Ireland