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Many painters have explored their relationships with their parents through their work. Celia Paul, David Hockney and Arshile Gorky come to mind. Francis Bacon also does this in his very disturbing paintings of ‘screaming’ popes. Bacon, who had a very turbulent relationship with his father, saw similarities between his father’s appearance and Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X. Bacon exacts his revenge in a series of sinister re-workings of this 17th century painting, transforming his father into a traumatised papal victim. In contrast, Stanley Spencer depicted his father in a much more positive light, transforming him into St Francis of Assisi. St Francis and the Birds was inspired by the memory of his father, pottering in his dressing gown to collect food for the family’s ducks and hens.

Painting and drawing

Printmaking

Sculpture

Alternative media

David Hockney

Phillip Toledano

Celia Paul

Arshile Gorky

Francis Bacon

Stanley Spencer

Louise Borgeouise