The Sacred and the Profane
'I loathe my own face," said Francis Bacon. Whether that was a purely aesthetic judgment or the expression of something deeper, we shall probably never know. Though his paintings were consistently dark in character, Bacon himself was contrary and contradictory. He was troubled, but could be blithe, famous for his generosity but also his cruelty. His life was a big, decadent, glorious mess and he seemed to revel in it. Even his friends romanticised his poetic dissolution, one describing him as "a drunken, faded sodomite swaying nocturnally through the lowest dives and gambling dens of Soho". He suffered tragedy and mishap, violence and abandonment throughout his life, but remained, throughout, according to his sister Ianthe Knott, "a very, very collected man".