His palette – nightclub pinks and neon yellows – creates a kitsch separation between subject and handling, and place the gnarled surfaces at a remove from the rest of the painting. There’s a sense in which the gaudy aureoles become quotation marks around the figure, or even a kind of barrier or cage, compounding the haunted, disintegrating look of some of the popes, recalling Francis Bacon’s similar treatment of the subject.

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