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terça-feira, 25 de novembro de 2008


David Sylvester - Are you ever as moved by looking at a still life or a landscape by a great master as you are by looking at paintings of the human image? Does Cézanne still life or landscape ever move you as much as a Cézanne portrait or nude?

Francis Bacon - No, it doesn't, although I think that Cézanne's landscapes are very much better than his figures, generally. I think that there are one or two figure-paintings which are marvellous, but generally speaking I think the landscapes are better.

DS - Nevertheless, the figures say more to you?

FB - They do, yes.

DS - What is it that made you paint a number of landscapes at one time?

FB - Inability to do the figure.

DS - And did you feel that that you weren't going to do landscapes for long?

FB - I don't know that I felt that at the time. After all, one is always hoping that one will be able to do something nearer one's instinctive desire. But certainly landscapes interest me much less. I think art is an obsession with life and after all, as we are human beings, our greatest obsession is with ourselves. Then possibly with animals, and then with landscapes.

DS - You're really affirming the traditional hierarchy of subject matter by which history painting — painting of mythological and religious subjects — comes top and then portraits and then landscape and then still life.

FB - I would alter them round. I would say at the moment, as things are so difficult, that portraits come first.

DS - In fact, you've done very few paintings with several figures. Do you concentrate on the single figure because you find it more difficult?

FB - I think that the moment a number of figures become involved, you immediately come on to the story-telling aspect of the relationships between figures. And that immediately sets up a kind of narrative. I always hope to be able to make a great number of figures without a narrative.

DS - As Cézanne does in the bathers?

FB - He does.

David Sylvester in Interviews with Francis Bacon, 1975.

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