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Francis Bacon

Critical and Theoretical Perspectives

Rina Arya

This collection of essays on Francis Bacon (1909-1992) pays tribute to the legacy, influence and power of his art. The volume widens the relevance of Bacon in the twenty-first century and looks at new ways of thinking about or reframing him. The contributors consider the interdisciplinary scope of Bacon’s work, which addresses issues in architecture, continental philosophy, critical theory, gender studies and the sociology of the body, among others. Bacon’s work is also considered in relation to other artists, philosophers and writers who share similar concerns. The innovation of the volume lies in this move away from both an art historical framework and a focus on the artist’s biographical details, in order to concentrate on new perspectives, such as how current scholars in different disciplines consider Bacon, what his relevance is to a contemporary audience, and the wider themes and issues that are raised by his work.

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Rina Arya Introduction

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This collection of papers on Francis Bacon (1909–92) pays tribute to the legacy, inf luence and power of Bacon’s art. Public interest in Bacon was recently revived by the retrospective in 2008–9, which marked the cente- nary of Bacon’s birth. Starting at the Tate (London) in the Autumn of 2008, before moving on to the Prado (Madrid) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the exhibition brought together around a hundred of Bacon’s paintings from dif ferent phases in his life and was oriented around the main themes and subjects in his work: the relationship between the animal and the human, the inf luence of various literary traditions and forms in his work, mortality and the alienation of the individual. The purpose of this collection is to widen the study and relevance of Bacon and to look at new ways of thinking about or reframing him. This involves thinking about the interdisciplinary scope of his art, which addresses issues in architecture, continental philosophy, critical theory and gender studies. Aside from considering Bacon’s art in the context of dif ferent disciplines, another perspective is to think about his work in relation to others – art- ists, philosophers, writers – who share similar concerns. This collection of fers a fresh examination of Bacon’s art primarily from viewpoints that take us beyond the art historical. Most Bacon schol- arship to date has predictably been from within the remit of art history. The scope of this scholarship ranges from the formalist to the...

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