The Scientific Indian

Optimistic and totally without hope

Warning: Artsy-fartsy post.


Read this article on Francis Bacon, a unique artist. His painting of the head in a cube (that’s Pope X) kept me disturbed for many days and nights. Later in life, Bacon hated having painted this, saying it was a mistake to engage with Velázquez’s original. That could be true within the context of artistic skill. However, it is useless denying the fundamental need for a young artist to re-examine the past, particularly when it could be potentially shocking. Artists love to shock and parody other artists. Taking the head of an authority figure–who is more authoritative than the Pope–and placing it in a cube of intense personal fright is so subversive! Hysterical terror of this kind is only possible for the super-religious?

Did anyone see the deep sunken eyes of the current Pope and the sort of crazed look it had when he recently visited Nazareth? Striking, I thought (to be fair, I admit I rarely look at the Pope in good light).


  1. #1 Hypatia
    May 30, 2009

    I cannot look at the current pope without seeing the title character of my least favorite Edward Gorey book– The Beastly Baby. The resemblance is uncanny.

  2. #2 Pierce R. Butler
    May 30, 2009

    … (that’s Pope X) …

    How appropriate to omit the dude’s stage name: none of those bastards is really “Innocent”, after all…

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