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Francis Bacon

© National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Born in Dublin, the son of a retired army officer and race-horse trainer, Francis Bacon left Ireland for Paris, Berlin and London at the age of sixteen. As Bacon himself put it, he 'drifted between the gutter and the Ritz', pursuing homosexual adventures, and beginning to paint religious subjects encouraged by the Australian-born artist Roy de Maistre. He came to some early notice as an interior designer, but it was as a painter that he made an initial impact, in 1945, with his Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. A continuous stream of works followed, some taking imagery from sources as diverse as Velasquez, Van Gogh, the photography of E. Muybridge, the cinema and illustrations of disease.

National Portrait Gallery, London





oil on board


H 45.1 x W 37.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by Aubrey Beese, 1975

Work type



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National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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