Second Version of Triptych 1944
- Second Version of Triptych 1944
title=Second Version of Triptych 1944
type=Oil and acrylic on canvas
width_inch = 18⅛
museum=Tate Britain, London
"Second Version of Triptych 1944" is a 1988 triptych painted by the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon. It is a reworking of "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion", 1944, Bacon's best known triptych, and the one which established his reputation as one of England's foremost post-war painters.
Bacon often painted second versions of his major paintings, including "Painting 1946" which he reworked in 1971 as the original had become too fragile to transport to exhibitions.
[Farr, Peppiatt, Yard (1999), p.217] In 1988 he completed a near copy of the "Three Studies". At 78 x 58 inches, this second version is over twice the size of the original, and the orange background has been replaced by a blood-red hue. ]
The figures occupy a smaller space on the canvas than in the 1944 version, a device which, according to the Tate Gallery's catalogue "plung [es] them into a deep void". [" [http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=19509&searchid=8512 Second Version of Triptych 1944 1988] ". Tate Gallery display caption, November 2005. Retrieved on 27 April, 2007.] Critical opinion was mixed, and the 1988 triptych drew criticism from those who felt that its more refined painting technique robbed the image of much of its power. [Hyman, James. " [http://www.jameshymanfineart.com/pages/archive/information/510.html Francis Bacon - A Life in Paint] ". James Hyman Fine Art, 2002. Retrieved on 27 April, 2007.] Denis Farr suggested that while the second version's larger scale gave it "a majestic quality which is highly effective", its svelte presentation lessened its shock value.
Critic Jonathan Meades felt that though the 1988 triptych was a more polished and painterly work, it lacked the rawness of the original. [Meades, Jonathan. "Raw, Embarrassing, Nihilistic". "New Statesman", 6 February, 1998.]
The figures in the new work occupy a proportionally smaller amount of canvas than the 1948 version. Reviewing the canvas, the art critic James Demetrion noted in 1998 that despite these differences, the second version still achieves the power and impact of the first. [Demetrion (1989)]
[http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999875&workid=19509&searchid=8764 Concise entry at Tate Online]
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