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Study after F.Bacon, Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Oil on canvas
72”x 58”, 2017, Jean-Antoine Norbert

 

         This painting is inspired by Francis Bacon’s Study After Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953, oil on canvas (60 1/4 x 46 1⁄2”, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa) ( here below). It is a scream against the rise of hatred, violence, and intolerance initiated by the leadership and rhetoric of the Heads of State of so many countries around the world. 
Standing between the Democratic Vice President Joseph Biden (left) and then-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner (right), Pope Francis (center), identifying polarizing politics as a force fanning the flames of violent national and international division, implored the powerful of Congress and the millions of others tuning in to his speech to refrain from fighting violence and toxic hatred with the same.
On September 24, 2015, Pope Francis gave a speech to the Congress of the United States of America during the Presidency of Barak Obama. (Please find the transcript below)  I modified the original image and made the pontif and John Boehner screaming. Because the speech of the pope was so quiet! Instead, I made them scream, raising the volume of his voice and his message! I feel upset by the situation that the pope is discribing in his speech and Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, goes in the same direction: “Have we forgotten that human rights protections were created after the mass atrocities of the Second World War as a way of making sure that ‘never again’ actually meant ‘never again’?” Indeed, the Annual report of Amnesty International shows that politicians wielding a toxic, dehumanizing “us vs them” rhetoric are creating a more divided and dangerous world! Whether it is Trump, Orban, Erdoğan, or Duterte, more and more world leaders referring to themselves as “anti-establishment” are wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats, and dehumanizes entire groups of people. 
The Pope’s assertions are well founded. For instance, the last two American Presidents, George W. Bush and Barak Obama, made speeches exhorting nations around the globe to join them in ending the use of torture. Ultimately, however, all of these promises remain hollow as the CIA continues to use torture as a means of extracting information!
Hundreds of men and women, disproportionately, people of color, are killed by the police each and every year across the United States. No one knows exactly how many deaths result from these extrajudicial killings because the United States does not maintain statistics, which would be clearly indicting and are indicative of the racist policing policies of a country whose incarceration rate is the highest in the world.
This painting is also a protest against the drastic cuts to the budget for the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) and the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities), cuts that withhold critical support for the development of a more peaceful, global culture.

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Francis Bacon’s Study After Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953, oil on canvas (60 1/4 x 46 1⁄2”, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa).
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Diego Velázquez, Portrait of Innocent X, Oil on canvas, 56 in × 47 in, c. 1650, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome

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