Francis Bacon's 'Study for a Pope III' (1961) is to be displayed at the Skarstedt Gallery London in their upcoming exhibition 'In Homage'. 'In Homage' runs from June 27th to August 8th. The exhibition explores the ways in which artists have been influenced by their predecessors, looking beyond comparison, considering aspects such as affinity, stylistic approach and painterly process. 'Study for a Pope III' was last exhibited in London at the Tate Gallery in 1962. The piece is another example of Francis Bacon returning to the subject of Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650), a theme first explored by Bacon in 1950.
"Because I think it is one of the greatest portraits that have ever been made, and I became obsessed by it. I buy book after book with this illustration in it of the Velasquez Pope, because it just haunts me, and it opens up all sorts of feelings and areas of - I was going to say - imagination, even, in me." - Francis Bacon on Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X
Bacon originally conceived this work as part of a polyptych of six paintings. Skarstedt believe that in this study, perhaps more than in any other, the contradiction of man’s mortality versus the power of the Papal office is best conveyed by the frailty of the diminished figure engulfed in his throne and the splattering of paint depicting his facial contortions. Like Velázquez before him, Bacon’s achievement lies in his ability to go beyond a formal likeness and to capture the essence of the man himself. Other artists featured in the exhibition include George Condo, Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, with their paintings referencing masterpieces by Velázquez, Picasso, Baselitz, Ernst, Goya, Munch and de Chirico. For further information please visit the Skarstedt website. In Homage June 27th - August 8th, 2014 Skarstedt Gallery London 23 Old Bond Street, W1S 4PZ t: +44 207 499 5200 Word ref: Skarstedt Gallery press release and website. Please note that all details including dates and times are subject to change, for all confirmation please contact Skarstedt Gallery London directly.