Embodiment as Sacrament: Francis Baconʹs Postwar Horror

Rina Arya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The power of Francis Bacon’s (1909–1992) art lies, in part, in the contradictory range of responses that it evokes. Some viewers experience his paintings as energetic and uplifting; others react to the despondent and annihilating qualities of Bacon’s oeuvre. This polarization of expression is encapsulated in an oxymoron that Bacon coined: “exhilarated sense of despair.”² Unpacking this phrase further we see that the extremes need not only be viewed as contradictory but also as part of his sensibility. The despair may characterize Bacon’s observation of his historical environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReVisioning
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art
EditorsJames Romaine, Linda Stratford
Place of PublicationOregon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780718842215, 9781630871826
ISBN (Print)9781620320846, 9781498215114
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameArt for Faith's Sake
PublisherCascade Books


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