Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X
|Type||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||153 cm × 118 cm (60 in × 46 in)|
|Location||Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa|
Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X is a 1953 painting by the Irish artist Francis Bacon. The work shows a distorted version of the Portrait of Innocent X painted by the Spanish artist Diego Velázquez in 1650. The work is one of a series of variants of the Velázquez painting which Bacon executed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, a total of over 45 works. The picture was described by Gilles Deleuze as an example of creative re-interpretation of the classical.
When asked why he was compelled to revisit the subject so often, Bacon replied that he had nothing against the Popes, that he merely sought "an excuse to use these colours, and you can't give ordinary clothes that purple colour without getting into a sort of false fauve manner."
In Bacon's version of Velázquez's masterpiece, the Pope is shown screaming yet his voice is "silenced" by the enclosing drapes and dark rich colors. The dark colors of the background lend a grotesque and nightmarish tone to the painting. The pleated curtains of the backdrop are rendered transparent and appear to fall through the representation of the Pope's face.
- Schmied, 17
- Peppiatt, 147
- Schmied, 20
- Peppiatt, 148