"In 1949 Francis Bacon found his subject - the human body - and from then on it remained his principal theme. But he did not paint from life. Instead he appropriated images from the mass media that he manipulated into his 'studies'. His paintings bore witness to the shattered psychology of the time and shot him to a prominence that hardly diminished over the next fifty years, and that continues to rise." "This book presents many of the 'working documents' about which Bacon was entirely secretive but which, it emerges, were integral to his creative process. Culled from thousands of pieces of original material found in his studio, including newspapers, magazines, books and photographs, these items have each been exhaustively and minutely researched, providing for the first time comprehensive details of the artist's sources. This base material - folded, torn, clipped and spattered with paint - underwent an alchemical transformation frond mundane matter into new images." "Nearly all previously unseen, these visually thrilling documents demonstrate Bacon's tactile, visceral relationship with his sources, and his unerring eye for seeking out visual stimulation in the most unexpected places. His paintings emerged from a dialogue between great art of the past and photographic imagery of the present: and, as a painter of the transient, his work also shared the pulse and flicker of his other significant inspiration, early cinema. His fascination with medium itself - the texture of paint, the quality of newsprint, the techniques of mechanical reproduction of both the still and moving image - throws light on the nature of Bacon's points of contact with the twentieth century."--Jacket.