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 an essential component of the social panorama of the eire skilled through either males in the course of childhood.
Many of those Irish societies modelled their ritual constructions and symbolism at the Masonic Order. Freemasons use the time period ‘spurious Freemasonry’ to designate these rituals now not sanctioned by way of the Grand inn. The Masonic writer Albert Mackey argues that the spurious varieties have been these derived from many of the cult practices of the classical global and describes those initiatory practices as ‘a process critical and onerous trials’. This studying of Bacon’s and Beckett’s paintings attracts on theories of trauma to indicate that there's a anxious hyperlink among Bacon’s stark imagery, Beckett’s imprecise 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)
50 In the context of a warrior elite the cult of Mithras, the Persian god of light, had historically been interwoven with Druidic practice. This military cult was popular amongst Roman soldiers in the first and second centuries and was a mystery religion in which the candidates had to pass through numerous degrees. 51 Lewis Spence suggests that it closely resembled Freemasonry and cites Algernon Herbert, who suggested that the late flourishing of paganism in Britain and parts of Europe involved a mongrel blend of Druidism, Mithraism and modern Freemasonry.
108 The legs on the frame in this image are shaped like those of the dolmen, otherwise known as the Druid’s Altar. Figures perched on awkwardly shaped and altar-like benches appear in Triptych, 1974–7, and in Triptych – Studies of the Human Body, 1970. 109 He suggests that this concept of a site for visionary experience may have gradually been degraded into the concept of ‘beds’ in the mating sense. The presence of the many round beds in Bacon’s images may be relevant here. In the triptych Studies of the Human Body, 1970, the three panels are set on an orange background, with the centre panel containing a mating couple on the top of a round grass-coloured bed.
55 In the context of this discussion, the stanza ‘man pulling screaming child in centre of circle, mans figure against tent’ is ominous, implying the possibility that the artist may be describing a terrifying process involving a child, that is occurring in a tent-like space. 57 If some of Bacon’s work were depicting some form of ritual crime, then it would have been necessary to ensure that the child, even if he does remember, never speaks of the events. Powerful threats would need to be employed so as to ensure that this never occurs.