Hues and cries
This chapter examines the use of colour in Francis Bacon’s paintings, focusing particularly on <i>Head VI</i> (1949) and the neglected <i>Triptych</i> (1977). The chapter will demonstrate how Julia Kristeva’s ideas about colour and language, developed in the context of Early Renaissance art, are equally applicable to Bacon’s paintings. They provide a valuable explanation for the artist’s rich palette and his often unusual techniques. Kristeva’s ideas also reveal how Bacon’s chromatics can be understood to trigger memories of the early stages of psychic life. The chapter concludes by suggesting that Bacon’s approach to colour should be understood as contributing to the expression of a sexuality for which no pre-existing visual rhetoric was available.