By Lynn Brunet
The artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and the author Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) either show of their paintings a feeling of foreboding and confinement in bleak, ritualistic areas. This publication identifies many similarities among the areas and actions they evoke and the initiatory practices of fraternal orders and mystery societies that have been a vital part of the social panorama of the eire skilled via either males in the course of childhood.
Many of those Irish societies modelled their ritual buildings and symbolism at the Masonic Order. Freemasons use the time period ‘spurious Freemasonry’ to designate these rituals now not sanctioned by means of the Grand inn. The Masonic writer Albert Mackey argues that the spurious varieties have been these derived from a few of the cult practices of the classical global and describes those initiatory practices as ‘a process serious and exhausting trials’. This studying of Bacon’s and Beckett’s paintings attracts on theories of trauma to indicate that there is a anxious hyperlink among Bacon’s stark imagery, Beckett’s vague performances and the unofficial use of Masonic rites.
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The artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and the author Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) either exhibit of their paintings a feeling of foreboding and confinement in bleak, ritualistic areas. This booklet identifies many similarities among the areas and actions they evoke and the initiatory practices of fraternal orders and mystery societies that have been an essential component of the social panorama of the eire skilled via either males in the course of youth.
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Extra info for 'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland)
75 Tara’s sister hill Uisnech, as well as the great burial 28 Chapter One mounds at Brú na Bóinne, near the River Boyne, form the mythological centre of Ireland. 76 If the scenario being presented here is correct, the inclusion of the double microphone shapes in Painting, 1946, a motif repeated in a number of Bacon’s images, could also be interpreted as pairs of kidneys, perhaps reflecting the words spoken in a version of the rites that included elements from Irish mythology. In the centre panel of Triptych, 1976, discussed earlier in relation to the oaths taken in the rites, the human carcase has what appears to be a bowl of blood in its lap and a chalice full of blood is in the foreground.
In Crucifixion, 1965, a distorted figure with a partial human face and legs in splints emerges from the form of a hanging beef carcase. 99 The only means of escape for a child undergoing such an ordeal would be dissociation, a psychological means of escape from the terror and the pain that the body is undergoing. The child’s legs may feel paralysed during such an ordeal, perhaps giving rise to Bacon’s preoccupation with Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of a crippled boy. 100 In Bacon’s image, the combination of human form and beef carcase, which also appears in the right-hand panel of Three Studies for a Crucifixion, 1962, may relate to legendary Irish stories of the sacrifice of youths and boys.
84 The presence of a naked male figure alongside a curtain in Study from the Human Body, 1949, could suggest that we may be looking at a very debased form of the rites, where it is possible that sexual behav- 30 Chapter One iour has replaced the more solemn and dignified behaviour used in the Passing of the Veils as sanctioned by the Irish Grand Lodge. If Bacon were, in fact, representing his own crucifixion in these images then his handwritten notes describing a screaming child and copulating figures on a bed of crime suggest that the images could be representing some form of ritual sexual act conducted on a round, carpeted dais.
'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland) by Lynn Brunet