Sunday, 14 June 2015

Francis Bacon and the Masters @ The Sainsbury Centre

Running from the 18th April to 26th July 2015 at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts within the University of East Anglia, 'Francis Bacon and the Masters' has been one of the Gallery's most anticipated exhibitions this year.

I'd been planning to visit 'Francis Bacon and the Masters' for a while, and so when the opportunity arose the week after my final exam, I decided to make the trip. Having briefly studied Bacon as part of my Fine Art GCSE last year, I was interested to see how his work would be grouped and presented, as well as how masters with distinctly different styles to that of Bacon, such as Rembrandt and Michelangelo, would be included in the exhibition.

The exhibition itself is being held in the Sainsbury Centre's underground exhibition space, separating it from the general hubbub of the permanent exhibitions area, reception and cafe, allowing visitors to become utterly absorbed in the atmosphere, the layout and paintings create. The exhibition itself is split into distinct areas, such as self portraiture, Bacon's studio, his relationship with the Sainsburys, inspiration drawn from ancient artefacts, as well as his influences from both modern and ancient artists.

I'm certainly no expert in art, but the exhibition allowed me to see and understand how inspiration from other artists may be used to produce an utterly unique work. It expertly guides the visitor through Bacon's life and work, seamlessly incorporating well know pieces such as Alonso Cano's 'The Crucifixion', and Rembrandt's 'Portrait of an Old Man' as well as works by Picasso and Van Gogh with the Bacon works they inspired or can be linked to, such as Francis Bacon's 'Crucifixion', and his Portrait of R.J Sainsbury. This juxtaposition provided a refreshing contrast to Bacon's work, the style and subject of which may sometimes prove intense, thereby ensuring visitors remained engaged until the very end.

I would most definitely recommend this exhibition to anyone able to visit, whether or not you have any previous knowledge of Francis Bacon. Even if you are too late to visit this particular display, The Sainsbury Centre is arguably one of the best galleries in the UK, holding a wide ranging collection of ancient to modern art in its permanent collections.


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