Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book of Choice: Anatom of an Enigma

I've been fascinated by Francis Bacon ever since I saw his Screaming Pope, which I blogged about here. “Anatomy of an Enigma” by Michael Peppiat is the best book to read if you want to learn not only about his paintings, but also about his personality. He was an outrageous character who very much enjoyed meeting and spending time with a large number of people and who could effortlessly go from dining with a lord to hooking up with some East End criminal for sex. He in fact sought exactly this kind of contrast and thrived on it.

The title of the book is well chosen. Bacon always refused to talk about what his painting meant and he hid his influences very well. He also made a secret of his past and personal life, at least insofar that he didn't allow any biographies to be published while he was still alive.
There are a great number of stories about Bacon and it's probably easy to create a legend from those stories. What I like about Peppiat's book is that he paints a very vivid picture of Bacon, but I didn't have the feeling of reading some gossip column.

There's just one thing I don't like about this book and that's the fact that there are only a few reproductions of Bacon's paintings and that they are all in black and white. Colour is a very important part of Bacon's images, so I would recommend getting a book with colour reproductions to look up the paintings Peppiat references.

I searched for Francis Bacon on YouTube and I found some great stuff, for example this documentary

(there are six parts)
and this interview

and this

He's 74 in this last video. I was fascinated by the photos in the book and seeing him in those short movies is even more amazing.

This is the 10th book for the Library Challenge

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