Icon: Francis Bacon (The Artist)
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Sunday, we’re reminded of one of the most sharply dressed men to hail from the Emerald Isle: artist Francis Bacon. (Even if he wasn’t the sort of Irishman to believe in his indigenous claim to luck.)
In fact, we’ll admit he might be our bleakest icon to date. The post-WWII artist—not to be confused with his philosophical ancestor—is known for his pretty-damn-creepy paintings of monster-like figures, friends, screaming popes and slabs of meat. Maggie Thatcher is quoted in his obituary as having called him “that man who paints those dreadful pictures,” and he was an unapologetic alcoholic, gambler and “optimist, but about nothing.”
You’d think a man like that would be pretty terrifying, but he actually kind of looked like your grandfather, only more stylish.
Allow us to elaborate, while painting his dapper portrait in six iconic photos.
Disgruntled mug and all, Bacon had that typical Irish-old-man vibe going for him, but always with a well-tailored twist. His brown suede bombers draped instead of billowed, he did not at all fear the turtleneck, and he held his own sartorially with literary giants of his day. Hell, you might not be able to recognize his face in his self-portrait, but even then his trench fits nicely.
For a man who said “We live, we die and that’s it,” he certainly didn’t mind doing so handsomely.
And okay, fine, maybe the meat thing is a little creepy.
- — Stephen Praetorius