Friday, April 24, 2015

No means no

As we know from his interviews with art curator David Sylvester, Francis Bacon didn’t get to visit Velázquez’s 1650 portrait of Pope Innocent X when he was in Rome in 1954. Instead he used a photograph as the source for the famous series of paintings he finished in the mid-1960s. Not being Francis Bacon, we did visit the Palazzo Doria where the Velázquez hangs. Thanks to a reflection on the door we saw the image of the Pope as we walked up to the obligatory ‘No Photography’ sign outside the room, but when we got in there the painting looked a bit off. Yes, it was a photographic reproduction. The original is on loan for a major Velázquez exhibition in Paris. As we left we could hear the faint sound of Bacon sniggering.

Images: left, the Pope's photograph reflected in the door and right, the no photographing photographs sign at the Palazzo Doria