Head VI (1949) by Francis Bacon

Head VI - Francis Bacon - 1949

Artwork Information

TitleHead VI
ArtistFrancis Bacon
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions93 x 76.5 cm
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationArts Council of Great Britain, London

About Head VI

Head VI, an artwork by Francis Bacon created in 1949, typifies the expressionist movement through its visceral and evocative portrayal in oil on canvas. Measuring 93 x 76.5 cm, this figurative piece is part of the Head series and is currently held by the Arts Council of Great Britain in London.

The artwork dives into the depths of human psyche and emotion, employing an abstracted, deformed figure as its central focus. The figure appears confined within an undefined, box-like space which seems both as a part of the backdrop and a metaphysical boundary separating the subject from the viewer. The painting is dominated by dark tones, and the background consists of heavy, earthen hues that create a brooding atmosphere. At the forefront, the figure is depicted in a tumultuous blend of purple and white strokes, contributing to a sense of dynamic movement and inner turmoil.

The subject’s face is distorted, with an exaggerated open mouth that could be interpreted as a silent scream or a verbal outburst frozen in time. The eyes are mere hollows, and the face’s contortion exemplifies the existential angst and detachment often explored by Bacon in his work. The lack of clear contours and distinct forms further detaches the figure from any recognizable human traits, instead evoking a raw, emotional energy that is both unsettling and captivating. The tactile quality of Bacon’s brushwork adds to the intensity of the expression, underlining the work’s expressive power.

Head VI resonates with themes of isolation, distortion, and the human condition, quintessential features of Francis Bacon’s oeuvre and testament to the complex layering of both form and feeling in his art.

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