Because of its importance in Bacon’s later works the mouth has become a study in itself. In 1966, the artist spoke of the admiration he had had since the 1920s for the screams of the wounded nurse in Serge Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin (1925) and of the mother in Poussin’s Massacre of the Innocents , 1630-1 (Musée Condé, Chantilly).  He professed: ‘I did hope one day to make the best painting of the human cry.’  He is known to have had an operation on the roof of his mouth,  but he traced his interest in the imagery to a medical treatise with coloured illustrations, La Maladie de la bouche which he acquired around 1935; it appears that one of its plates served as the model for the central panel of Three Studies .  Although such ambitions and associations were explored in retrospect and frequently in relation to later works - notably the paintings of Popes derived from Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X - the artist may also have seen something in common between the outburst of both oppressor and innocent. In 1974, he told David Boxer of his interest in ‘the visual scream ... this image where you see the gums, the teeth, the saliva, the lips, the flesh outside’, and he added: ‘The scream can be the scream of the aggressor or ... the victim.’  The persistence of the open mouth as a locus of pain in Bacon’s work, together with the complex of images of beauty with which he would associate it - the wish, in 1966, ‘to be able to paint the mouth like Monet painted a sunset’  - reinforces the tone in Three Studies ; there it is simultaneously expressive and bestial, luscious and aggressive while screaming or biting. Furthermore, these concerns may be seen partially to circumscribe the use of photographs of Nazi leaders as source material.
In the years after Bacon's death, his theories began to have a major influence on the evolving field of 17th-century European science. British scientists belonging to Robert Boyle's circle, also known as the "Invisible College," followed through on Bacon's concept of a cooperative research institution, applying it toward their establishment of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1662. The Royal Society utilized Bacon's applied science approach and followed the steps of his reformed scientific method. Scientific institutions followed this model in kind. Political philosopher Thomas Hobbes played the role of Bacon's last amanuensis. The "father of classic liberalism," John Locke, as well as 18th-century encyclopedists and inductive logicians David Hume and John Mill, also showed Bacon's influence in their work.
The 1933 Crucifixion was his first painting to attract public attention, and was in part based on Pablo Picasso 's Three Dancers of 1925. However it was not well received and, disillusioned, Bacon abandoned painting for nearly a decade, suppressing his earlier works.  He visited Paris in 1935 where he bought a secondhand book on anatomical diseases of the mouth containing high quality hand-coloured plates of both open mouths and oral interiors, which haunted and obsessed him for the remainder of his life. In 1935 he saw Eisenstein 's Battleship Potemkin ,  the scene of the nurse screaming on the Odessa steps and others later becoming a recurrent part of Bacon's iconography and a major theme in his paintings, with the angularity of Eisenstein's images often combined with the thick red palette of his recently purchased medical tome.