On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

July 17, 2020

The disturbing art of Irish-born British painter Francis Bacon often violates formal boundaries of the human. Consequently, a visit to a retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Hirschhorn Museum left Robert D. Newman deeply unsettled. As a humanities moment, this encounter compelled Newman to grapple with Bacon’s art, sorting through “contradictory emotions,” ultimately growing “as a being and as a self.”