Francis Bacon and Battleship Potemkin

I am not a fan of contemporary art. But as the time has come to study I’ve forced myself to go through my courses in today’s most influential art. It has left me so lacklustre and disinterested that I’m finding trouble to start reading. And I love reading, anything! I simply can’t find a place in my mind to surround a new artist with love. I might appreciate it but that’s as far as I can go, really. Or, like… maybe? Is it’s an acquired taste? Perhaps I’m simply not mature enough? Either how, I suppose I’ll be stepping away from my courses, hope my studying goes well nevertheless, and only focus on things I love here.

However, Francis Bacon is a part of my course, and I am quite close to worshipping him. Ever since I saw a reconstruction of his filthy studio I loved him. His disturbing use of images, colours, distortions and composition has truly never left my mind since I was fourteen and have haunted me. Aside from his imagery I’m also smitten by his autodidactism, his demeaning attitude towards most art and his personal inspirations. One of which is the 1925 silent film, Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstein. It tells the story of the 1905 Russian Revolution by a revolt on the ship Potemkin. After getting served rotten meat (includes delicious looking maggots) and a threatening mass execution, the sailors get pushed to mutiny. At Odessa they find a sanctuary but as the authorities disturb the proletarians’ new-found happiness a massive bloodbath occurs. And it’s this specific bloodbath that Bacon loved. Again here is YouTube to our avail!

Gripping! I adore this. From the sickening Madonna-lookalike to the baby’s impending death and to the synchronised soldier’s legs, all this sensuous drama fills me with pure joyous beauty. Delicious. What Bacon mostly loved, however, was the bloody-eyed nanny screaming.


Quite gripping too, no? Bacon is legendary cynic and was a lover of suffering and despair and this image seems to sum it all up to me. Now, what’s even more distressing than an old sweet nanny with bleeding eyes screaming is Bacon’s end result┬░.


If you look carefully you can still see the outlining of the glasses but what one notices right away is the general pain in this image. And it’s simply amazing to me how one can paint pain.

┬░Francis was also clearly inspired by Velasquez’ portrait of Pope Innocent X but I am less interested in that aspect. The horror in this painting is what gets me.