Francis Bacon Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944

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Artwork details

Francis Bacon 1909–1992
Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion
Date c.1944
Medium Oil paint on 3 boards
Dimensions Support, each: 940 x 737 mm
frame, each: 1162 x 960 x 80 mm
Acquisition Presented by Eric Hall 1953
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1940

Display caption

When this triptych was first exhibited at the end of the war in 1945, it secured Bacon’s reputation. The title relates these horrific beasts to the saints traditionally portrayed at the foot of the cross in religious painting. Bacon even suggested he had intended to paint a larger crucifixion beneath which these would appear.He later related these figures to the Eumenides – the vengeful furies of Greek myth, associating them within a broader mythological tradition. Typically, Bacon drew on a range of sources for these figures, including a photograph purporting to show the materialisation of ectoplasm and the work of Pablo Picasso.

May 2007