Sade, known as the Marquis de Sade, was an aristocrat, revolutionary and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. Frequently incarcerated for his writing of smut and for cruelty and debauchery, many of his erotic novels were in fact written from within the walls of his apartments in prisons and asylums.
The term Sadist is derived from his name.
The artwork revels in portraying the incarcerated Marquis in all of his powder-puffed glory, surrounded by the decadence of his era. Publishing from prison resulted in Sade having his papers and inks confiscated. As a consequence, Sade is said to have written a novel with his own blood onto the very suit he wore and had this published in place of paper. This story inspired the writing of Sade's French novel onto the costuming within the artwork whilst his narcissistic handcuffed self portrait hangs on his wall.