Francis Bacon (1909–1992) is rightly considered one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th century. International solo exhibitions are dedicated to his oeuvre, his work obtains the highest prices on the art market, and specialist literature about him continues to grow. Nevertheless, critical, art historical analyses concerned with Bacon have begun to stagnate. A scheme of interpretation dominates, which erroneously reduces him to the role of a painter of violence and of the brutalized human body. The present examination emphatically contradicts this "violent reading." In contrast, it proposes a "productive reading," which takes the complexity of Bacon's aesthetic practice duly into account.