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Bacon and the Mind

Art, Neuroscience and Psychology

Christopher Bucklow (Essay Author), Steven Jaron (Essay Author), Darian Leader (Essay Author), John Onians (Essay Author), Semir Zeki (Essay Author), Martin Harrison (Editor)

Logo markA Thames & Hudson book


The first in a series of books that sheds new light on Francis Bacon's art and motivations, published under the aegis of the Estate of Francis Bacon

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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming September 2019
  • ISBN 978-0-500-97097-3
  • 8 × 10.3 in / 160 pages
  • Sales Territory: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

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