Francis Bacon & Eadweard Muybridge
“I very often think of people’s bodies that have particularly affected me, but then they’re grafted very often on to Muybridge’s bodies. I manipulate the Muybridge bodies into the forms of the bodies I have known”

(David Sylvester, Looking Back, p72.)

Francis Bacon had an insatiable visual appetite – over 570 books and 1,300 loose leaves torn from books were found in his studio. One of the leaves the gallery will be lending to the The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney for their exhibition Francis Bacon Five Decades is torn from Eadweard Muybridge The Human Figure in Motion. Muybridge was a significant influence on Bacon and four copies of this book as well as more than one hundred loose leaves were found in Bacon’s studio after his death. Muybridge was the first person to document a photographic sequences of moving objects, a breakthrough which was a major precursor to the moving image. Bacon absorbed Muybridge’s encyclopaedic recordings of human and animal activities and they frequently manifested in his figurative paintings.

This particular leaf which the gallery will be lending features painted interventions made by the artist. One of five plates is enclosed by blue paint which silhouettes the form of the male nude figure. It was common for Bacon to make these interventions as he plucked, altered, and amalgamated visual matter from varied sources; this was a quintessential element of his unique creative process.