Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X , 1953 is a painting by the Irish born artist Francis Bacon. The work shows a distorted version of the portrait of Pope Innocent X painted by the Spanish artist Diego Veazquez in 1650.
The work is one of a series of variants of Velázquez’s painting which Bacon executed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, over a total of forty-five works. When asked why he was compelled to revisit the subject so often, Bacon replied that he had nothing against the Popes, that he merely "wanted 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."
The Pope in this version seethes with anger and aggression. The pleated curtains of the backdrop are rendered transparent, and seem to fall through the Popes’s face.
Bacon was quoted as saying "We are born with a scream; we come into life with a scream, and maybe love is a mosquito net between the fear of living and the fear of death." It is not a quote that relates directly to this work, but has some relationship with it.