Francis Bacon

Though Expressionist in style, Bacon’s distortions of the human form were based as much on his interest in medical textbooks as in art theory. His provocative blurring and highlighting of anatomy gave a new degree of physicality to classical themes such as the Crucifixion and classical works like the Orenstein; his almost painful honesty in depicting his lovers led to some of his most harrowing work, such as his triptych May-June 1973,which depicts the death of his partner George Dyer.

Before the onset of the AIDS epidemic, Bacon, although not blatant about his sexuality, was open for public scrutiny. A regular on the party circuit, Bacon was known for his boozing, gambling, and sexual exploits. He eventually withdrew from the scene, however, due to a just concern about being pigeon-holed and attacked as a gay artist -- even Margaret Thatcher publicly denounced Bacon's work as offensive and unneccesarily jarring. Sadly, as Lord Gowrie wrote, Bacon began towards the end of his life to understand his homosexuality as "an affliction, that it had turned him, at one point in his life, into a crook. The crookishness, not the sex, was a source of shame..."