Dating the crucifixion
The title of this triptych refers to figures sometimes depicted at the foot of the cross in religious paintings.Bacon later related themto The Eumenides, vengeful furies of Greek myth.Although certain planes are dominated by certain colours of orange, the space is suggested more by the delineation in black than as a result of any treatment.
The figure in the right hand panel leans on an isolated patch of grass, and opens its mouth into a toothed yawn.
This panel is the most thickly painted and cracking indicates the application of lean oil paint on top of a ‘fatter’ layer that was still drying; large areas of the orange appear to have darkened to brown over time.
The (brown, orange and yellow) for the strands of the figure’s chestnut hair; this is especially delicate as no fixative was applied.
BACOn | PETERSFIEL[D]’ up left side to top of board; printed Lefevre Gallery label with typed inscription: ‘STUDY FOR CRUCIFIXION | by | FRANCIS BACON’ removed from back of right panel, Tate Gallery, London, May-June 1962 (5, repr.), Kunsthalle, Mannheim, July-Aug. Its three pale figures with distended necks, each isolated against a hot orange background, constitute the preferred point of departure for consideration of his mature career.
(5, repr.), Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin, Sept.-Oct. Research has thrown light upon the earlier years, but most critics have followed the artist’s lead in discussing the when it was first shown in London in April 1945.