Essay The Perspective of Art by Francis Bacon

Essay The Perspective of Art by Francis Bacon

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1. Pick any painting and analyze it from the points of view of the (a) formalist, (b) the expressionist, (c) and the philosopher of “aesthetic experience”. Which perspective, if any, do you find most convincing?
I chose a piece by Francis Bacon, an Irish artist born in 1909, called the Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X. (a) From the point of view of a formalist, this piece would be examined in different perspectives such as the dark tones, shapes, and lines that the piece has, to the context and reasons of why Bacon decided to paint it as a re-modernization of the classical painting of Velasquez, exploring all the textures and dimensions of the painting to determine its artistic value. (b) I think an expressionist would say that this piece tries to transmit an emotion of feeling of anguish seen from the dull and dark colors Bacon used in it, and although the books says it is hard to determine if the feelings expressed in the painting are coming from the audience, the pope, or bacon, I think it would be clever to interpret those emotions from the point of view of the pope, who appears to be vanishing in the painting while screaming like if he were disappearing in one of his nightmares. (c) The philosopher of “aesthetic experience” would evaluate the whole experience of seeing the picture and its attributes as a whole where the experience becomes an aesthetic contemplation of senses explaining Bacon’s piece from various points depending on the personal experience such philosopher may get.

I do not find a perspective more convincing than the others, on the contrary, I think creative human expressions such as art or music cannot be classified with written and uniformed parameters or predetermined views becaus...


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...fferent views. For instance if two different people called A and B look at the same painting of an American soldier dying in war, the painting is going to generate different sensations in them according to the experiences they have had with those kind of images in their lives. If A’s father was an honorable war hero who died in combat when A was relatively young, the painting might generate feelings of nostalgia, pride, and melancholy to A, but on the other hand, if B is a Vietnamese kid who saw how an American soldier shot his father in the head, B is obviously going to absorb feelings of resentment, hatred, and even antipathy from the image. In conclusion, I think art has become another relative concept where people are the ones in charge to define as art or trash, to me art can be anything since simplicity and complexity are both beautiful in their own worlds.

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