What if…What if Francis Bacon (the painter) had been a writer???

Francis Bacon 222

It is often interesting to imagine how people’s lives might have turned out, if they had taken a slightly different turn. Imagine if Adolph Hitler had been accepted into the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, he might have pursued a far creative career, rather than leaving a trail of destruction and a terrible stain on history.
I have always been an admirer of the work of Francis Bacon, the Irish born painter. His paintings are brutal at times. You’d be hard pressed to find many people as messed up as Bacon.

What if he’d been a writer? What kind of things would he have written? He certainly had an interesting descendant namely Sir Francis Bacon, an Elizabethan statesman, philosopher and essayist, who allegedly was the true author of William Shakespeare’s plays (there are others who have equally been accredited). Bacon had a difficult childhood, imagine if your father had you horsewhipped because he considered you to be too effeminate, as was the case with young Francis Bacon.

His touchy relationship with his father boiled over when his father discovered him admiring himself in front of a mirror in his mother’s underwear…Francis Bacon seemed to have a penchant for cross-dressing. Bacon went through a hard period, living like a destitute but at the same time reading Nietzsche, maybe this might have had a bearing on what Francis Bacon might have written. On the other hand many stories might of emanating from his time wafting through London’s homosexual underworld, pressing his advantage with rich types, he felt confident he could pull and enjoy the good life with. His relationship with his father continued to smolder, and paradoxically Francis Bacon had a perverse attraction for his father.

Bacon’s first painting of note was called “Crucifixion”…influenced by Picasso. The painting was not well received, which sunk Bacon into a deep depression and he was the type of creative person who preferred to destroy his own work…rather than let it reside in the public domain.

He slumbered for ten years, suffering from this early set back, however having bought a second hand book of diseases of the mouth, added to the fact that he greatly admired Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin,‪ particularly the scene of the nurse screaming on the Odessa steps, his work took a new direction. You could imagine he could have been a horror writer, if he had so chosen…he was certainly a tortured soul with an eye for the darkness in people’s souls. A screaming head became the hallmark of Bacon’s work.‬‬
Imagine you meet your lover for the first time while they burgle your apartment, this was the circumstances of how Bacon met…George Dyer…it seems like something from out of the movies or an “urban legend”. Bacon assumed the role of a “father figure” to Dyer. Previously bacon had been more with older men, who often treated him badly, physically attacking him. Dyer began to feature strongly in Bacon’s work, not that Dyer appreciated Bacon’s work. Dyer was incongruous to Bacon’s more sophisticated world. Dyer was eventually to come to sad ending, an overdose of barbiturates. Consequently the theme of death began to predominate in Bacon’s work, as he was affected deeply a succession of deaths at the time including that of Dyer’s.

Dyer’s funeral included members of the criminal fraternity. This artist born into an aristocratic family seemed to have sunk into murky depths. Would Bacon have written incredible dark homo-erotic books? Would he have written about the dark underworld? Would he have done social satire? Mocking his roots? Or perhaps the lower classes? Would his work have ended up being influenced by this attraction he had for his father, some really screwed up psychological novel.
What he might of written, it is sure that he would have come up with some of the weirdest stuff imaginable, rather like his paintings.

Follow Francis H Powell on Twitter.

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Flight of destiny Is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People’s conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge is often a subject explored.

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