On View

Study After Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Photo Credit: Rich Sanders, Des Moines

Study After Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Artist: Francis Bacon (English, 1909 - 1992)
Date: 1953
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Frame: 68 3/8 × 54 7/8 × 3 3/8 in. (173.7 × 139.4 × 8.6 cm.)
Image (visible): 59 7/8 × 46 3/8 in. (152.1 × 117.8 cm.)
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Coffin Fine Arts Trust; Nathan Emory Coffin Collection of the Des Moines Art Center, 1980.1
Accession number: 1980.1
Classification: painting
Copyright:ARS
In Collection(s)
Label TextBacon was born in 1909 in Dublin of English parents. Lacking academic training in art, he nevertheless achieved a modicum of success as a furniture designer, interior decorator and painter and exhibited his work in London in the 1930s. Only aout 10 of the paintings remain since the artist destroyed most of his works of that early period. Source: Bulletin, November-December, 1979.
Bacon used Velásquez’s 17th century portrait of Pope Innocent X as his subject nearly 50 times between 1949 and 1971. This version is considered by most to be Bacon’s definitive statement on the theme. Although he never saw the Velasquez in person, Bacon became entranced by reproductions of the work. Many images and ideas captured Bacon’s imagination and recurred in his work. His fascination with graphically depicting the mouth is evident here, as in many of the pope paintings. In particular, this scream references the “Odessa Steps” sequence of the classic silent film Battleship Potemkin (another Bacon obsession). In the film, a nurse cries out violently as she is shot through her eyeglasses, and the red, blood-like paint splatters can also be related to this imagery. The strange yellow lines surrounding the figure form both a throne and reference a boxing or wrestling ring, a common theme in the artist’s work. Despite its specific iconography, the painting remains unsettling and enigmatic. The long vertical and diagonal brushstrokes covering the canvas suggest motion, blurring the image in such a way that it can be seen as falling through space. By presenting an authoritarian figure like the pope in this scenario, overcome by the primal act of screaming, Bacon subverts the concept of authority and presents a disturbing image of chaos.
Exhibition History"Francis Bacon: The Papal Portraits of 1953," Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Jan. 17 - Mar. 28, 1999

"Francis Bacon," (Retrospective) Musee National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, July 4 - Oct. 28, 1996; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, Dec. 1996 - Feb. 1997

"Francis Bacon, A Retrospective Exhibition," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Oct. 11, 1989 - Jan. 7, 1990; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Feb. 5 - Apr. 22, 1990, Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., May 23 - Sept. 4, 1990

"Francis Bacon," organized by the Galerie Beyeler, Baumliengasse, Switzerland, June 12 - Sept. 30, 1987

"Francis Bacon," organized by the Tate Gallery, London, May 22 - Aug. 18, 1985 (circulated to: Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, West Germany, Oct. 10, 1985 - Jan. 1, 1986; Nationalgalerie, West Berlin, Feb. 6 - Mar. 30, 1986)

"Exhibition in conjunction with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra's Concert," Toledo Museum of Art, Jan. 11 - Feb. 17, 1985

"Extended Loan," Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Oct. 7, 1983 - Nov. 7, 1984

"Highlights from the Three Collections: The Bohen, Coffin and Cowles Collections," Des Moines Art Center, July 8 - Sept. 11, 1983

"Selected Works from the Collection of Carter Burden," Marlborough Gallery, N.Y., May 9 - June 1, 1974

"Francis Bacon," Galleries national du Grand Palais, Paris, Oct. 26, 1971 - Jan. 10, 1972 (circulated to Stadtische Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, Germany, Mar. 7 - May 7, 1972)

"Seven Decades 1895-1965: Crosscurrents in Modern Art," Odyssia Gallery, N.Y., Apr. 26 - May 21, 1966, (odyssia Gallery was one of ten New York Galleries Participating in the exhibition)

"Francis Bacon," Tate Gallery, London, (circulated to: Stadtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany, July - Aug. 1962; Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland, Oct. - Nov. 1962)

"Francis Bacon - Hyman Bloom," UCLA Art Galleries, Los Angelos, Oct. 30 - Dec. 11, 1960

"Francis Bacon," organized by the Galerie Beyeler, Baumliengasse, Switzerland, color plate 4.

"New Images of Man, " Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., Sept. 1959 - Feb. 1960 (circulated during this period to the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland)

"The New Decade - 22 European Painters and Sculptors," Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., May 10 - Aug. 7, 1955 (circulated to: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Sept. 21 - oct. 30, 1955; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov. 21, 1955 - Jan. 7, 1956; San Francisco Museum of Art, Feb. 2 - Mar. 15, 1956)

"New Paintings by Francis Bacon," Beaux Arts Gallery, London, Nov. - Dec. 1953
Published ReferencesDavid Sylvester, "L'ast de l'impossible," GENEVA, Appeared in two vols., vol.1, p.51; vol. 2, p.14, color ill.

Ernst van Alphen, FRANCIS BACON AND THE LOSS OF SELF, Reaktion Books, Lon

BRITAIN TODAY, no.214, Feb. 1954, Ill. opp. p.24

"The New Decade - 22 European Painters and Sculptors," Museum of Modern Art, N. Y., 1955, cat. ill. p.63

KONSTREVY, XXXII, no.5-6, 1956, ill. p. 206

"Francis Bacon - Hyman Bloom," Art Galleries, UCLA, 1960, cat. no.4

"Francis Bacon," Tate Gallery, London, 1962, cat. no. 22, ill.

John Rothenstein and Ronald Alley, FRANCIS BACON, Viking Press, N. Y., 1964, no.56, pl.56, ref. pp.67-68

John Russell, "Francis Bacon: A Retrospective and a Preview," HORIZON, vol. XIII, no.4, 1971, pp.78-95, color ill. p.85, text ref. pp.85-86


"Francis Bacon," Galleries national du Grand Palais, Paris, 1972, cat. no.13, color ill. p.60

"Selected Works from the Collection of Carter Burden," Marlborough Gallery, N. Y., 1974, cat. no.2, color ill. p.25

John Rothenstein, MODERN ENGLISH PAINTERS - WOOD TO HOCKNEY, Macdonald and Co., London, 1974, ill. p.175

David Sylvester, INTERVIEWS WITH FRANCIS BACON, Thames & Hudson, London, 1975, pl.22, p.25

"The Exhilarated Despair of Francis Bacon," excerpt of interview by David Sylvester, ART NEWS, vol.74, no.5, May 1975, pp.26-31, ill. p.28

Lorenza Trucchi, FRANCIS BACON, Abrams, N. Y., 1975, color ill. pl. no.102, p.26

John Sunderland, PAINTING IN BRITAIN 1525 TO 1975, Phaidon Press, London, 1976, ill. pl.213

DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER, Aug. 5, 1979, p.5C, ill.

Edward Lucie-Smith, CULTURAL CALENDAR OF THE 20TH CENTURY, Phaidon Press, London, 1979, b/w ill. p.129

DMAC Bulletin, Nov.-Dec. 1979, ill. on cover

"La Chronique des Arts - Principales Acquisitions des Musées en 1979," supplement to the Gazettes des Beaux Arts, no.1334, Mar. 1980, ill. no.250, p.48

Erike Billeter, "Malerei: und Photographie-Begengnung zweier Medien," DU, no.10, 1980, ref. p.34 (mistakenly dated 1949), color ill. p.43

Robert Hewison, IN ANGER: CULTURE IN THE COLD WAR, 1945-60, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1981, b/w ill. no.7

Peter Selz, ART IN OUR TIMES: A PICTORIAL HISTORY 1890-1980, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. & Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1981, ref. pp.410-411, ill. fig.1116, p.40

"The Nathan Emory Coffin Collection, Des Moines Art Center," portfolio, 1981, color ill.

James T. Demetrion, "Collection (sic) of 20th Century Italian Art in the United States," in "Immagine del Museo negli Anni '80," BOLLETINO D'ARTE (SUPPLEMENTO), Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Rome, 1982, ill. p.70

Michel Leiris, FRANCIS BACON: FULL FACE AND IN PROFILE, Oxford, London (English trans.), 1983, color ill. pl.11

DIMENSIONS 84, Simpson Paper Company, 1984, color ill. p.1

Michael Peppiatt, "The Anatomy of Enigma," ART INTERNATIONAL, vol.XXVII/4, Sept./Nov. 1984, b/w ill. p.5

Gilles Deleuze, FRANCIS BACON: LOGIGUE DE LA SENSATION, La Calle sur Loup, 1984, two vols., ref. vol.1, pp.23, 24, & 41, ill. vol.2, pl.54

"Francis Bacon," Tate Gallery Publications Department and Thames & Hudson, London, 1985, cat. no.16, p.234, ill. pl.16

SYMPHONY NOTES, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, vol.1, no.2, Jan. 1985

Monthly Calendar, Toledo Museum of Art, Jan. 1985

THE BLADE, Entertainment Section, Toledo, OH, Sunday, Jan. 13, 1985, ref. p.2

William Feaver, "The Greatest Living Painter?" ART NEWS, September 1985, pp.123-125, b/w ill. p.123

ART 31, Distance Learning, Alberta Education, 1992, color ill. p.17

Ronald Tamplin, ed., THE ARTS, A HISTORY OF EXPRESSION IN THE 20TH CENTURY, Grange Books, London, 1994, refs.130, 132, & 202, color ill. p.132

T. J. McNamara, KEY MOMENTS IN 20TH CENTURY ART AND ARCHITECTURE, New Zealand Magazines, Ltd. 1998

DECOR Textbook, Wolters-Noorhoff, Groningen, The Netherlands, 1999, color ill. p.29

Television video, Canal + channel, Madrid, Spain, 1999 (TV program)

"The Art of the 20th Century, vol.51 No.779, November 1999, Tokyo: Art Mall, Inc.; Bijutsu Shappam-sha, Ltd., pg.6 (color)

Kemp, Martins, ed. "The Oxford History of Western Art", Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.436, no.623.

Jonathan Fineberg, ART SINCE 1940: STRATEGIES OF BEING, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 2000, pp. 144-45, ill.

"Francis Bacon: Lo Sagrado Y Lo Profano", exhibition catalogue, Institut Valencia D'Art Modern, 2003. Pg.19.

"Francis Bacon and the Tradition of Art", Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Catalogue, 2004. Front cover, pg.137 (German and English)

"Berio: Il Passato Nel Presente", Banca Popolare di Milano, Musicom, 2004, color ill. pg.31

MAGASINET KUNST, article ET ENKELT VÆRK, written by Michel Henri, Horisont Gruppen A/S, 2005,

Jürgen Schilling, "Etudes pour un portrait de Van Gogh par Francis Bacon", Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, Paris, 2005, pg.48

Barbara Czarniawska and Pasquale Gagliardi, "Management Education and Humanities", Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2006, color image pg.81

Communidad de Madrid, "Espacio Interior (Inner Space)", 2006, color image pg.12

Dawson W. Carr, "Velasquez", Nation Gallery Company, London, and Yale University Press, 2006, color ill. pg.110

Michael Peppiat, "Francis Bacon in the 1950s", Yale University Press and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2006, color ill. pg.39

"Francis Bacon" edited by Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, Tate Publishing, 2008, color ill. pg.119

Mark-Anthony Turnage, et al "Francis Bacon (1909-1992)" Tate Etc., Issue 14, Autumn 2008, Tate Publishing, color ill. pg.70

"Turner and the Masters", Tate Publishing, 2009, color ill. pg.27

P.H.A. Frissen "Gevaar verplicht: Over de noodzaak van aristocratische politiek", Vangennep Amsterdam, 2009, cover image

Gérard-Julien Salvy, "Cent énigmes de la peinture", Ditions Hazan, 2009, color image pg.155, text pg. 226

"Turner and the Masters", edited by David Solkin. Tate Publishing, 2009, color illustration pg.27

Le Monde de L'Art, #2 Hiver, 2011, color ill. pg. 34

Florian Schumacher, "Bourdieus Kunstsoziologie", Konstanz, 2011, color ill. pg.151

"Jenny Saville", Edited by Gilian Shallcross, Norton Museum of Art, 2011, color ill. pg.38

Jody Duncan Jesser an Janine Pourroy, "The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy", 2012, Anrams, color ill. pg. 120

"Art & Visual Culture 1850-2010: Modernity to Globalisation", edited by Steve Edwards & Paul Wood, Tate Publishing and The Open University, 2012, color ill. pg. 201

"Zeng Fanzhi", Musée D'Art Moderne de La Ville de Paris, 2013, color ill. pg.19

"Retratos: Obras Maestras Centre Pompidou", Fundación Mapfre and Centre Pompidou, 2012, color ill. pg. 47

"Visible: Images & Dispositifs de Visualisation Scientifiques", Université de Limoges, 2013 No.10, color ill. pg.19

"Face to Face: Die Kunst des Porträts" Schloss Ambras Innsbruck, 2014, color ill. pg. 51

"Andres Serrano Ainsi soit-il" Musee de Vence, 2015, color ill. pg. 45

Jenni, Alexis, "Dans L'a Itente de Toi", L'Iconoclasete, Paris, 2016, color ill. pg. 69

Bukdahl, Else Marie, "The Recurrent Actuality of the Baroque", contoluce, 2017, color ill. pg. 221




















































entirely unexpected