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After Picasso, Francis Bacon is the second most important painter of the 20th century. Why? His work inspired Gilles Deleuze to an entire philosophy of art

By Ben Lewis   April 2005

One of the more curious synchronicities of recent art history is that Francis Bacon’s paintings often look like pieces of bacon. That may sound like a silly joke, but a similar thought underpins the aesthetics of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-95). In Francis Bacon: The logic of sensation (1981) Deleuze described a theory of art based on the body, flesh and hysteria. Bacon is the only painter who has ever ended up in the title of a key philosophical text, and whose work has then formed the point of departure for a new philosophy of art. (The fact that…

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