Masterpiece Stories

A Study of Loneliness and Isolation: The Man in Blue

Zuzanna Stańska 20 May 2018 min Read

So here he is. A mysterious guy in a suit, drinking at the hotel bar. Everything is dark around him, he himself seems to be blurry and undefined - a classic Everyman. Who is he? Is his identity important? Why we feel so anxious when we look at him and his surrounding?

[caption id="attachment_12546" align="aligncenter" width="708"]The Man in Blue Francis Bacon, Man in blue I, 1954, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018 Francis Bacon, Man in Blue I, 1954, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen[/caption] Today we are talking about Francis Bacon's Man in Blue series which consist of seven canvases. In 1954, Francis Bacon spent quite a long time at the Imperial Hotel in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England. While staying there the artist spotted a guy - an anonymous eccentric who for some unknown reason spent every evening drinking at the hotel bar. [caption id="attachment_12561" align="aligncenter" width="460"]Francis Bacon, Man in blue IV, 1954, private collection Francis Bacon, Man in blue IV, 1954, private collection[/caption] The surrounding of the Man in Blue looks like a cage and the man himself as a prisoner. The face of the man appears to be erased. [caption id="attachment_12547" align="aligncenter" width="796"]The Man in Blue Francis Bacon, Man in blue VII, 1954, Man in Blue by Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, Man in Blue VII, 1954, private collection[/caption] The mid-1950s were hard times for Bacon. The Cold War anxiety was in full swing. The artist was engaged in a chaotic affair with Peter Lacy a former fighter pilot. Maybe chaotic is not the best word here - I should say "violent". Bacon was often forced to escape to hotels for days on end to escape his lover's violent, drunken rages. Another thing tormenting Bacon was the wider pressures associated with the continuing illegality of homosexuality in the UK. [caption id="attachment_12560" align="aligncenter" width="577"]Francis Bacon, Man in Blue V, 1954, Kunstsammlung NRW, Man in Blue by Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, Man in Blue V, 1954, Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017[/caption] Most of the paintings from the series are now spread around the world in the private collections. [caption id="attachment_12549" align="aligncenter" width="644"]The Man in Blue Francis Bacon, Man in Blue II, 1954, Private Collection Man in Blue by Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, Man in Blue II, 1954, private collection © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2018. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.[/caption]
Francis Bacon began his career as a designer of furniture and carpets. In the 1930s, he started exhibiting his free work in various galleries in London, but later he destroyed much of this early work. It was only after the Second World War that Bacon started exhibiting again in galleries. Human beings are the subject of his paintings. [caption id="attachment_12551" align="aligncenter" width="637"]The Man in Blue Francis Bacon. Man in Blue III. 1954, Private Collection. Man in Blue by Francis Bacon Francis Bacon. Man in Blue III. 1954, private collection[/caption] Often these people are anatomically misshapen and their shapes are vague, almost erased. Extremely lonely and tormented figures find themselves isolated and trapped within themselves in a well-defined space. [caption id="attachment_12559" align="aligncenter" width="641"]Francis Bacon, Man in Blue VI, 1954, private collection Man in Blue by Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, Man in Blue VI, 1954, private collection[/caption] Bacon created these spaces by placing frames around the figures which at the same time act as a closed cage. From 1950, Bacon produced a number of series of paintings with the pope and the cardinal at his subject which are his most famous works now.

Find out more:

[easyazon_image align="none" height="110" identifier="0199540799" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/51yj0637MYL.SL110.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="73"]   [easyazon_image align="none" height="110" identifier="0500292531" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/51ywOyJmO6L.SL110.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="73"]   [easyazon_image align="none" height="110" identifier="B01MXLVGZN" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41gtsr1D7wL.SL110.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="71"]

https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/francis-bacon-interview-gambling-life-death/ https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/francis-bacon-describing-brutality/  

Recommended

Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Journey of Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy

Originally titled A Portrait of a Young Gentleman, this iconic painting by Thomas Gainsborough was first presented at the Royal Academy exhibition of...

Maya Tola 29 November 2021

Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: Michelangelo’s Bacchus

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known as Michelangelo, is undoubtedly among the world’s most treasured artists. His connection to...

Maya Tola 7 December 2021

Yaxchilán Lintel 24, 723-726 CE, Limestone, Temple 23, Yaxchilán, Mexico, British Museum, London, UK. Detail. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Stories: Yaxchilán Lintel 24

Yaxchilán Lintel 24 is an iconic image of Pre-Columbian art. It easily represents the vitality, mystery, and fascination surrounding the Mayan...

James W Singer 27 November 2021

Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait (detail), 1434, The National Gallery, London, England. Masterpiece Stories

Masterpiece Story: The Arnolfini Portrait

The Arnolfini Portrait is as enigmatic as it is iconic. Painted by Jan van Eyck in 1434, it spawns a lot of speculation – over half a century...

Vithória Konzen Dill 4 November 2021