Francis Bacon: Tragic Genius

Tate Gallery, presented by Eric Hall, 1953

Francis Bacon did for despair what Michelangelo did for faith. He made it majestic. The Bacon retrospective that just opened at Tate Britain in London is one of the most powerful shows I've seen in more than 40 years of museum-going. This is Bacon's fifth retrospective, and by now his screaming Popes, wrestling lovers and tread-marked faces are so famous it's impossible to make them new. But the Tate show, which runs until Jan. 4, does something better. It brings almost five decades of Bacons together into a kind of collective cry, one that makes you realize how rare it is...

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