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 ebook 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 through 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 no longer sanctioned via the Grand resort. The Masonic writer Albert Mackey argues that the spurious types have been these derived from a few of the cult practices of the classical international and describes those initiatory practices as ‘a process critical and hard trials’. This analyzing of Bacon’s and Beckett’s paintings attracts on theories of trauma to signify that there is a nerve-racking hyperlink among Bacon’s stark imagery, Beckett’s vague performances and the unofficial use of Masonic rites.
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Additional resources for 'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland)
67 None of the three figures in this triptych have eyes: they are either covered with hair, as in the figure in the left panel, or with the blindfold in the centre panel, or are simply non-existent, as in the figure in the right panel. None can see and yet their other senses seem to be alive to some overwhelming horror. As one of Bacon’s most successful works this triptych appears to capture the animal sensations of terror in haptic form. The blindfolding and veiling of the figures reflects the preparation of the candidates for a Royal Arch initiation.
It deals with the Old Testament theme of Jehu’s purge against the worship of Baal. As the contemporary Masonic author, J. A. 29 Bacon depicts arrows in many of his paintings: crimson arrows appear in A Piece of Wasteland, 1982, a response Bacon made to T. S. Eliot’s famous poem, and in Diptych: Study from the Human Body – From a Drawing by Ingres, 1982–4, as well as in other images. A number of cut-out arrows were found in the rubble of his studio. 30 While these higher degrees claimed to have religious significance the initiations were not always an expression of Christian values.
20 Chapter One the candidates undergo a series of ritual processes before qualifying for the degree. In irregular versions of the rites these processes can be undergone as a series of arduous trials; one of these trials is known as the Rugged Road. 44 Bacon’s Sphinx III, where the sphinx is surrounded by scattered blocks, implies the possibility that the artist may have been recording a visual image of such a setting within a Royal Arch initiatory space. Taking David Healey’s argument into account, in all of these curtain images the artist may have been representing fragmented scenes, imprinted on the brain, of an environment associated with a traumatic experience.
'A Course of Severe and Arduous Trials': Bacon, Beckett and Spurious Freemasonry in Early Twentieth-Century Ireland (Reimagining Ireland) by Lynn Brunet