Until his death in , Francis Bacon was the most commanding figure in British art, celebrated for his evocations of the dark side of this turbulent century Andrew Sinclair, social historian and novelist, knew Bacon and conducted his last interview with the painter not long before his death This is the compelling story of a man who was always the outsider, a witness to the violence of his times and, for most of his life, a sexual outlaw Born in Dublin of English parents in , Bacon said his earliest memories were of vivid scenes of the Sinn Fein uprising in Ireland and the destruction that rained down upon London from German zeppelins during World War I In its aftermath, Bacon, largely self taught as a painter, experienced the excitement and decadence of Weimar Berlin, lived in the Paris of the surrealists, and returned to England to endure the homefront terrors of World War II His richly colored art is shaped by anguish, terror, and hallucination, an attempt, according to Bacon himself, to make certain types of feeling visual Bacon thus rendered a truly visceral and deeply disturbing portrait of an age Andrew Sinclair s biography, rich with insights into the painter s personality, sexuality, and prophetic vision, is a compelling study of how history directs the artist to illuminate his period and its savage contradictions

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