Several years after his death, Francis Bacon's place in the pantheon of twentieth-century art seems more assured than ever. The violent intensity with which Bacon's paintings give expression to the existential angst of his fellow human beings is virtually without parallel in the history of art. The work of this self-styled maverick continues to be profoundly disturbing and to resist classification in conventional categories.
Drawing on a lifetime's experience of studying twentieth-century art, and on his personal encounters with the artist, Wieland Schmied presents a comprehensive portrait of Bacon the painter. Bacon the man is by no means overlooked, but Schmied does not allow details of the artist's private life to deflect him from his central purpose: to distil the essence of Bacon's art from a formal analysis of his paintings and from an examination of the creative processes they embody. Bacon's subtle use of space, the fundamental significance of photography in the development of his imagery, his idiosyncratic painting technique, his place in twentieth-century art as a whole, the role of homosexuality and the other autobiographical dimensions to his oeuvre - searching discussion of all these aspects results in a refreshingly independent view of a major artist.