The work is one of a series of 45 variants ofDiego Velázquez’s portrait ofPope Innocent Xwhich Bacon executed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.
The carcass hanging in the background is likely derived from Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef, 1657. The painting is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
This painting is featured in Tim Burton’sBatman (1989 film) in a scene where the Joker and his henchmen destroy several works of art. The Joker spares Figure with Meat, saying, “I kind of like this one, Bob. Leave it.”
This painting inspired many of the disturbing works of Hermann Nitsch.