Terry Gilliam once told a story of how he dealt with animator’s block while working on the first series of Monty Python, and how his refuge was the National Gallery. There the painting would leap out at him, talk to him, throw their own ideas from the walls right at him. These trips to the galleries inspired the graphical nonsense which peppered the Pythons’ sketches, including a certain Bronzino foot which would become a very famous appendage.

In the first in a series of videos filmed by Tate Britain director Christopher Nolan discusses his own relationship with the art world and in particular with the works of Francis Bacon and their influence on one of the main grotesques in his Dark Knight Trilogy.

Also interviewed are Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, these videos can be found below along with others here at the Meet Tate Britain section of the website.

Christopher Nolan on Francis Bacon

Mike Leigh on JMW Turner

Ken Loach on William Hogarth

Incidentally this isn’t the first time Francis Bacon’s work has inspired a filmmaker working on a Batman film. In 1989 Tim Burton used Bacon’s Figure with Meat (below) in the scene set in Gotham Art Gallery in which Jack Nicholson’s Joker destroys many priceless works of art. Bacon’s painting, however, is spared.

Looking at it you can easily see why.