Similarly, Lucian Freud, a close friend of the artist (before a feud brought the relationship to an end), shared a belief that the visceral realities of the body offered an insight into the truth of human experience.“As far as I am concerned, the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as the flesh does,” Freud once remarked. His richly detailed paintings obsessed over the bodies of his subjects, with every subtle tone or fold of skin recorded in a laborious process that contrasted with Bacon’s faster, more spontaneous flourishes.
From February 28, Tate Britain is bringing together the work of the two contemporaries (along with a portrait of Freud by Bacon, which is displayed for the first time since 1965) in a blockbuster exhibition that explores how artists have rendered life’s experiences in art. All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life will incorporate everything from Walter Sickert’s vignettes of everyday life to Alberto Giacometti’s isolated, stick-thin figures, offering a rich overview of figurative art during the 20th century, and investigating what gallery director Alex Farquharson has described as, “how artists have captured the intense experience of life.”