On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings | National Humanities Center

Humanities Moments

On First Encountering Francis Bacon’s Paintings

July 17, 2020

Newman, Robert D. (President and Director, National Humanities Center)

Museums; Paintings; Art Criticism; Emotions; Hirshhorn Museum

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.”


Art / Museums / Paintings / Art Criticism / Emotions / Hirshhorn Museum /

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