Bacon and the Mind: Art, Neuroscience and Psychology
Francis Bacon Studies 1
Martin Harrison, Christopher Bucklow, Steven Jaron, Darian Leader, John Onians, Semir Zeki
The Estate of Francis Bacon Publishing & Thames & Hudson, 2019
Bacon and the Mind sheds light on Francis Bacon’s art by exploring his motivations, and in so doing opens up new ways of understanding his paintings. It comprises five essays by prominent scholars in their respective disciplines, illustrated throughout by Bacon’s works. Christopher Bucklow argues compellingly that Bacon does not depict the reality of his subjects, but rather their reality for him—in his memory, in his sensibility, and in his private world of sensations and ideas. Steven Jaron’s essay questions the psychological implications of Bacon’s habitual language, his obsession with “the wound,” vulnerability, and the nervous system. Darian Leader’s essay “Bacon and the Body,” presents the latest of his fresh and stimulating insights into the artist. The focus in John Onians’s “Francis Bacon: A Neuroarthistory” is the effect of Bacon’s unconscious mental processes in the creation of his paintings. “The ‘Visual Shock’ of Francis Bacon: An Essay in Neuroaesthetics” is a newly edited and now fully illustrated re-presentation of an article by Semir Zeki, previously accessible only as an online academic paper.