Three Studies for Self-Portrait

Francis Bacon British, born Ireland

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 601

As Bacon remarked to British art critic David Sylvester in 1975, "I loathe my own face . . . I’ve done a lot of self-portraits, really because people have been dying around me like flies and I’ve nobody else left to paint but myself." This striking triptych, featuring a head emerging from a deep abyss of black paint, provides no sense of the space inhabited by the sitter. The tightly constricted view allows only for ruminations on the face itself—its ravages, its psychological depths—and the sense of the head turning around slowly, going from one frame to the next, as if in an unhurried panning shot.

Three Studies for Self-Portrait, Francis Bacon (British (born Ireland), Dublin 1909–1992 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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