•Visit the studio of one of the art world’s biggest — and most provocative — legends
•See the creative environment of renowned artist, Francis Bacon, whose work sold at auction for $142.5 million
It isn’t often that you have the opportunity see the chaos that goes into creating world-class art. Tucked away at the back of the Hugh Lane Gallery, a 15-minute walk north across the Liffey River from Conrad Dublin, is the paint-splattered studio where some of the world’s most sought-after artworks were conceived. Francis Bacon, born in Dublin in 1909, the son of a former British Army officer, is one of the leading figurative artists of the 20th century and is the most acclaimed painter ever to have come out of Ireland. His powerful works—depicting man in a godless world—include images of screaming popes from the 1950s and a triptych of his friend and artistic rival Lucian Freud (which set an all-time record when it sold at auction for $142.5 million in 2013). Many of his masterpieces were created in his studio in Kensington, London, where he lived for much of his life. But after his death, the contents of the studio were donated to the Hugh Lane Gallery. In order to relocate it, a team meticulously mapped, tagged and packed every item—even the dust! They can all now be seen here in all their colorful, messy glory, just as the artist left them. Here, you’ll see approximately 7,000 items, including more than 500 books, 1,500 photographs, 100 slashed canvases (Bacon often destroyed works before they were finished), pots of paints, newspaper cuttings, brushes, and empty boxes of Krug champagne. You can also see an entertaining video interview with the artist, who is far more jovial than his moody paintings might suggest. Even if you aren’t a modern-art buff, this is a fascinating place that gives up-close insight into the mind of one of Ireland’s art legends. Plus, admission is free.