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Fragment of a Crucifixion is a 1950 painting by the Irish-born figurative painter Francis Bacon (portrait shown). Although its title has religious connotations, it reflects Bacon's nihilistic view of the human condition; as an atheist he did not believe in either divine intervention or an afterlife. It shows two animals engaged in an existential struggle, with an upper figure, which may be a dog or a cat, crouching over a chimera and at the point of kill. The predator stoops on the horizontal beam of a T-shaped structure, which may signify Christ's cross. The chimera's despair forms the centrepiece of the work, and in its agony it can be compared to Bacon's later works focusing on the motif of an open mouth. The work contains thinly sketched passers-by, who seem oblivious to the central drama. He abandoned the theme of the crucifixion for the following 12 years, returning to it in the equally bleak triptych Three Studies for a Crucifixion.(Full article...)
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