Aeschyluss Oresteia Summary and Analysis

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Aeschyluss Oresteia Summary and Analysis

Aeschyluss Oresteia touched a chord within Francis Bacon both in its themes of parental violence and pursuit by the Eumenides and in the way Aeschyluss poetry communicated in a subconscious emotional levelAnalyzing three triptychs a closer examination is made between the works

Francis Bacon paints images communicating his feelings and emotions but which transcend his own personal experience and convey the tensions and violent emotions of the twentieth century and possibly beyond their creative timeframe to become universally pertinent and timeless for all mankindIn reading Aeschyluss Oresteia the poetry touched a chord within him such that he was to use motifs from the trilogy in a number of his works but also it pointed the way for him to engender strong emotions through his paintings without employing narrativeAdditionally the fate driven outcomes of the plays relate to Bacons painting practice of utilising accident in developing his paintingsThe initial appeal of Aeschylus was most likely rooted in this bloody story of parental violence revenge and exile from the home and the ongoing pursuit by the Eumenides

The extensive records of Bacons conversations will be used to prove that Aeschylus was an influence and it will be seen how Bacon translates the cathartic experience of tragedy into the medium of paintAfter a brief examination of the influence of his childhood we will look at the general influence of Aeschylus on his work before analysing three triptychs based on The OresteiaTo show the relationship between these paintings Aeschylus Oresteia and Bacon an in depth analysis of Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion 1944 will be made following this up by examining the Second Version of Triptych 1944 1988 and Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus 1981 In conclusion Aeschyluss influence will be confirmed and Bacons status of an painter of epic emotions and universal relevance will be raised

It is difficult to say with any certainty how much Bacon was influenced by his interest in literature because he so often contradicts himself that one can never be quite sure what he really means

Most of the time when one talks about painting one says nothing interestingIts always rather superficialWhat can one say

Archimbaud 1993 p171

Despite this comment he was a most vociferous painterOne only has to read David Sylvester and Michael Peppiatt to find many instances of contradictory viewsFor example his desire to avoid narrative painting is frequently stated on record yet when talking with David Sylvester Bacon says

I dont want to avoid telling a story but I want very very much to do the thing that Valery the French poet said to give sensation without the boredom of conveyance

Sylvester 1980 p 65

Bacon used interviews skilfully to manage how his work was perceived and interpreted sometimes being open and clear and at others intentionally misleading or at least spreading an air of mystery about his images and sourcesThe interviews with David Sylvester are a mine of information about his work and in them he acknowledges his profound debt to literature specifically Aeschylus and Eliot Additionally he could list for Michael Leiris cited in Gale 2008 p23 what books informed Triptych 1976And Michael Peppiatt recorded that Bacon admitted that literature had more effect on his paintings than anything else

Bacons primary aim was to convey strong feelings and emotions the shock of violence fear of the threat and rumblings of fate He wanted to communicate up onto the nervous system using subconscious feelings and raw emotion rather than tell or show directlyThis is just what he got from Aeschylus and T S EliotThe Wasteland is not a narrative poem it evokes feelings and

The Oresteia of Aeschylus its epic nature and hyperbolic language and imagery make it into something more universal its inherent emotional violence

Gale 2008 p21

And Bacon was a man steeped in violenceFrancis Ba

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