Bacon Portraits and Self Portraits by Milan Kundera

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From distorted self-images to brutal portrayals of friends and fellow artists, the portraits of Francis Bacon account for one of the most remarkable aspects of the work of the British painter. This work looks at his stylistic distortions of classicism and his famous deformations. Milan Kundera provides an introduction explaining his personal response to Bacon's work, exploring the paradox that lies in the faithfulness of the distorted images, and linking Bacon's genius with that of Samuel Beckett, both working at the outer limits of their art. France Borel's essay sets Bacon's works in the context of his life and influences and explains his approach to portraiture.

About Milan Kundera

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Francis Bacon was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1909. He emerged as one of the leading painters of the 20th century during the 40s and 50s. Bacon expanded the possibilities of figurative art with a bold, expressionistic style at a time when abstraction was the dominant mode. He was also one of the first artists to depict overtly homosexual themes. He stands as a towering figure in 20th-century art, having established a huge influence on younger generations of painters. He died in 1992. One of the foremost contemporary Czech writers, Kundera is a novelist, poet, and playwright. His play The Keeper of the Keys, produced in Czechoslovakia in 1962, has long been performed in a dozen countries. His first novel, The Joke (1967), is a biting satire on the political atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. It tells the story of a young Communist whose life is ruined because of a minor indiscretion: writing a postcard to his girlfriend in which he mocks her political fervor.The Joke has been translated into a dozen languages and was made into a film, which Kundera wrote and directed. His novel Life Is Elsewhere won the 1973 Prix de Medicis for the best foreign novel. Kundera has been living in France since 1975. His books, for a long time suppressed in his native country, are once again published.The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), won him international fame and was a successful English-language film. In this work Kundera moves toward more universal and philosophically tinged themes, thus transforming himself from a political dissident into a writer of international significance.
Published April 1, 1997 by Thames & Hudson. 215 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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The flamboyantly promiscuous and eccentric Bacon lives in Peppiatt's descriptions (""he walked with a springily weaving step, as if the ground rolled beneath his feet like the deck of a ship at sea"").

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