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The Paintings That Inspired The Movies
How art classics informed film…

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Alien

Alien – Study after Velázquez’s Portrait Of Pope Innocent X (Francis Bacon)

Inspired By: Study after Velázquez’s Portrait Of Pope Innocent X (Francis Bacon), which was modelled on Innocent X (Velázquez)

The film on this list with the deepest roots in art history is, perhaps surprisingly, Alien. You already knew that H. R. Giger designed the xenomorph, based on his own nightmarish and surrealistic work. But what you may not have known is that he was inspired by Francis Bacon’s melty-faced study of Pope Innocent X, itself based on the portrait of that pontiff by Spanish master Diego Velázquez. So the genesis of this film sees two of the 20th century’s masters and one 17th century legend conspire to bring us an acid-blooded nightmare monster. In any battle between Alien and Predator, therefore, Alien should rest assured of the full support of the art community – although it boggles the mind to imagine what Velázquez would have made of the creation.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 Nighthawks and The Sting maybe?
When I first saw this picture it reminded me so much of when Hooker (Redford) meets the female assassin posing as a waitress in the cafe. More

Posted by drico on Tuesday June 25, 2013, 11:01

2 Rembrandt?
Ah I see. Too close? More

Posted by annrhoward on Sunday June 23, 2013, 13:52

3 Rembrandt?
What about Peter Greenaway's 'Nightwatching' based on Rembrandt's painting 'The Night Watch' ? More

Posted by annrhoward on Sunday June 23, 2013, 13:51

4 RE:
Clever. Never made that link before :-) More

Posted by DunBirnin on Saturday June 22, 2013, 09:46

5 RE: Lee/Howe
Murray, they were illustrating the same subject matter as the film, so I categorised them with Dali and Spellbound as being too closely involved. More

Posted by Helen OHara on Friday June 21, 2013, 16:35


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