A deformedface, as if corroded by a splash of acid. An image of overt emotional tension, in which distress seeps from every detail. This is the unmistakable approach to the human figure of Francis Bacon, one of the most troubled and complex artists of the second half of the 20th century. Irascible and marginalised, an atheist and homosexual at a time when it was still illegal in Great Britain to be gay, Bacon had to face the hostility of society all his life, starting with his family. His subjects, disfigured by brushstrokes that break up their form, de-structured in their features, represent the most tragic aspects of the human condition; they are men alone with their fears, who seem to writhe in an inner pain so unbearable as to rend their flesh as well. A self-taught painter, Bacon drew inspiration from a variety of sources: the masters of the past, Futurist experiments with pictorial dynamism,newspaper photographs, even x-rays of teeth and gaping mouths, which he collected assiduously. A stratification of internal and external realities that constitute one of the most powerful and dramatic visual languages of the entire 20thcentury, as well as an expression of an equally tragic and complex era.