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Francis Bacon
Center panel of Two Figures Lying on a Bed with Attendants
1968
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SHAMELESS AND UNASHAMED
by Donald Kuspit


Writing about the history of portraiture, the great art historian Max J. Friedländer remarks that "the heightening of self-consciousness, so favorable to the development of the portrait when found in the object, became a stumbling block to it in the subject, i.e. the creative artist."(1) The problem, Friedländer continues, is that "the job of painting a portrait entails something akin to obsequiousness, against which creative power puts up a fight. Apart from the fact that the object, the appearance as given, demands to be observed accurately and objectively, thus limiting the artistís freedom, his imagination, his spirit, the portraitist is quite specifically in a subservient position."

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