1561-1626, English philosopher, essayist, cryptographer, and statesman.

Lived during the Elizabethan era. Perhaps his best-known writings are his aphoristic Essays 1597-1625.The major philosophical work, the Instauratio Magna, Novum Organum 1620. His major contribution to philosophy was his application of Induction, the approach used by modern Scientific Method. For example, he noticed that Hot water freezes faster than cold water.

Books he wrote include:

See: The Essays of Francis Bacon :

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Source: http://www.orst.edu/instruct/phl302/philosophers/bacon.html Last Updated 06.03.03

Philosopher and scientist who wrote De Augmentis Scientiarum, Novum Organum and other works on science. Cryptographer and polymath; often confused with Roger Bacon; said "Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est". Suspected of writing Shakespeare's works; see Who wrote Shakespeare?. Compare Aristotle and Ouspensky for books (aspiring to be) in the "Organum" series.

The most fascinating thing about Bacon to me, well, aside from the fact that he is the father of modern science and all, is the way he died. You see, true to the end, he was performing an experiment involving the preservation of meat (specifically chicken) and caught his (literal) death a cold. And in early 17th century England where does one get ice? That's right -- he was stuffing snow up a dead chicken.

Among other things, Francis Bacon was a cryptographer who invented a bilateral cipher. Bacon was quoted as saying:

A perfect cipher must not be laborious to write and read; it must be impossible to decipher; and in some cases, it must be without suspicion.

Unfortunately, as shown below, Bacon failed to heed his own advice.

It was because of his work in cryptography that fed claims throughout history that he was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Horace Walpole is the first to make this claim. In the 1870's, Ignatious Donnelly spent two years pouring through Shakespearean works putting together a system of decipherment which proved (in his own mind) that Bacon was the author of Shakespeare's works. He published his findings in a book called The great Cryptogram.

On a side note, Bacon was a Lord of Verulam, a lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and a lawyer.

Here is Bacon's Bilateral cipher (typically used with two types)
Everything translates to:

A - aaaaa
B - aaaab
C - aaaba
D - aaabb
E - aabaa
F - aabab
G - aabba
H - aabbb
IJ- abaaa
K - abaab
L - ababa
M - ababb
N - abbaa
O - abbab
P - abbba
Q - abbbb
R - baaaa
S - baaab
T - baaba
UV- baabb
W - babaa
X - babab
Y - babba
Z - babbb
Francis Bacon at the Hugh Lane, Dublin

At the end of the Second World War, the talk in Britain and America was of a bright new future, a new eara of prosperity and consumption. It was expected that art would reflect this optimism. But viewers to a small exhibition in London were shocked and disturbed by the work of a new artist, Francis Bacon. His "Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion" showed disturbing fleshy humanoid figures, screaming with violence and pain.

Throughout his career Bacon never deviated from a concentration on the physical brutality of human existence. The people in his dark paintings are only just a step away from the contents of the butcher's shop. Bacon returned to two types of person again and again: the pope and an anonymous executive bureaucrat. These figures are always repugnant - violent and distorted - and oppressive. It is hard not to think of the inquisition and the repressive role of the church when seeing Bacon's popes.

The paintings are not at all overtly political, in fact they seem deeply personal, but like Samual Beckett in the world of theatre, they serve as a disturbing reminder of the alienation that exists even in the boom times of capitalism. These paintings are a reaction to shallow, shiny, pop culture.

Sent from his home in Dublin's Baggot Street to Europe for conducting a gay affair at the age of 16, Bacon seems to nevertheless held an interest in Ireland, for his paintings and contents of his studio have been given to the Hugh Lane Gallery. This is an extraordinary present of one of the West's most influential post-war painters. The Gallery has advertised the exhibition well, but then they stand to do very well from the bequest - as they have ended their policy of free admittance and charge for the Bacon exhibition. However the gallery has not done the artist justice, poor lighting and strong reflections from the glass mean that some of the power of these raging distorted paintings has been lost.

"I've never known why my paintings are known as horrible. I'm always labelled with horror, but I never think about horror. Pleasure is such a diverse thing. And horror is too. Can you call the famous Isenheim altar a horror piece? It's one of the greatest paintings of the Crucifixion, with the body studded with thorns like nails, but oddly enough the form is so grand it takes away from the horror. But that is the horror in the sense that it is so vitalising; isn't that how people came out of the great tragedies? People came out as though purged into happiness, into a fuller reality of existence".

Figurative, expressionist, sometime surrealist, and borderline abstract painter who never attended art school, Francis Bacon was born on October 28th 1909 in Dublin, Ireland. He moved to London at 16 years old, when his father kicked him out after catching him dancing in front of a mirror in his mother's underwear. Two years later, he travelled to Berlin with his uncle and there he encountered the violent images of contemporary german art. He began to draw and work, in watercolour, about 1926.

He went to Paris in 1929 where he saw Picasso's paintings for the first time which had a huge influence on him. When he returned to London he became a furniture and interior designer and began to use oils for his paintings. Asthma prevented him from serving in World War II but he did go into civil defence and while working during The Blitz on London he experienced many scenes of violent and bloody death.

His work was first shown publicly in a group exhibition in London at the Mayor Gallery in 1933, then in 1934 he organised his own first solo show at Sunderland House, London which he titled 'Transition Gallery'. He didn't paint very much after this show and in the early 1940s destroyed many of his works which had not been well received. He did not begin to paint intensively again until 1944.

In April 1945, 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion' was exhibited in the Lefevre Gallery and made him the most controversial painter in Britain - it is now on display in the Tate Gallery, London. His first major exhibition was at the Hanover Gallery, London in 1949; his first outside of England was held in 1953 at Durlacher Brothers, New York.

In 1958 he rented 7 Reece Mews, a bedsit, in South Kensington, London for his studio which contained a kitchen with a bath in it, and a combined bedroom and living room. There was also a room which he used as a studio and which was in complete disarray. Although he bought houses in both England and France he always returned here to paint. John Edwards, an amateur photographer and Bacon's closest friend and heir donated the bedsit to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin. It was dismantled piece by piece and re-constructed there on the 23rd May 2001.

His paintings depict scenes of violence, tension, human cruelty and vulnerability, and figures in various states of indignity. They can be beautiful, frightening, tense and bewildering but always leave you in no doubt as to his absolute genius.

The life of Francis Bacon was depicted in the 1998 film, Love is the Devil, directed by John Maybury and starring the marvellous Derek Jacobi who looks incredibly like Bacon himself.

Francis Bacon died in Madrid on 28 April 1992 of a heart attack.

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