I went to this exhibition having read reviews and expected not to like, having read about gory horrid images featuring decomposing flesh, and Bacons hedonistic bucolic lifestyle. Actually I loved it. What a mastery he had, a little curvy daub of white paint and some other coloured blobs thickly applied in a jumble close up, step back a wee bit and a powerful image becomes apparent. We went to this exhibition on 27th December, only two days after the Pope had issued his Christmas message, choosing to emphasise the need to preserve traditional male and female roles and that this was as important as climate change in saving the planet. I particularly loved Bacon’s screaming deranged Popes, sat in cages like deranged animals. Of course Bacon was painting at a time when gay male sex was still illegal, and the Catholic Church then as now a source of screaming condemnation.. there is a fascinating interview of Bacon talking about the Pope series in the Tate audio archives.. he never actually saw the original Velazques painting.
Head VI 1949. Francis Bacon