The upper body of a man wearing a tie is floating in what appears to be a gloomy, closed-off room. If one looks closely, a rough black outline in the shape of a sphinx also becomes visible. The legendary sphinx is a winged creature with a human head and the body of a lion. Just as the sphinx is a half-human, half-animal hybrid, the artist has layered a number of divergent elements within the same composition. For example, the modern day and legends of antiquity, a man standing vertically and an animal lying horizontally, and three-dimensional modeling contrasted with shaping only in outline. As one of the representative artists of the 20th century, Bacon used the layering of numerous pictorial elements to call into question the nature of human existence in the modern era.