In 1933, Bacon paints his first crucifixion, entitled Crucifixion, which owes its debt to Picasso’s Boisgeloup crucifixions of 1930. Picasso’s safety-pin recurs in several of Bacon’s paintings of 1949, including Study from the Human Body.

Without a doubt, in his monochrome painterliness and starkly affecting imagery we see Bacon brilliantly marking out his own territory. In 1933, Bacon’s Crucifixion (1933) is published in Herbert Read’s book Art Now. The writer and art-dealer Douglas Cooper sells it through the Mayor Gallery to the prominent collector Michael Sadler. Ironically, this raises expectations of the young painter that will not be fulfilled for another decade.

Detail of Picasso’s Boisgeloup crucifixions from Minotaure magazine

Francis Bacon, Crucifixion (1933)