Francis Bacon and the Loss of Self

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Reaktion Books, 1992 - Art - 208 pages
According to most of the critical commentary on Francis Bacon, the paintings by this crucially important artist are about violence, torment, fragmentation and loss. However, Ernst van Alphen argues that it is the violence done to the viewer that needs to be addressed if we are to understand how these works function.

In this provocative and highly original interpretation of Bacon's art, the author offers close readings of significant works, discussing them in relationship to theories of schizophrenia, masculinity and contemporary literature, as well as issues of representation and visuality. By looking at the paintings in intricate detail and exploring their connections within cultural theory, van Alphen brings Bacon into the context of the contemporary critical debate.

"This examination of critical reactions to Bacon is very welcome"—The Art Newspaper

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About the author (1992)

Ernst van Alphen is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Nijmegen.

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