Inquisition Scene (c. 1816) by Francisco Goya

Inquisition Scene - Francisco Goya - 1812 - 1819

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Artwork Information

TitleInquisition Scene
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1812 - 1819
MediumOil on Panel
Dimensions46 x 73 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain

About Inquisition Scene

The artwork titled “Inquisition Scene,” created by the illustrious artist Francisco Goya between 1812 and 1819, is a striking example of oil on panel medium, measuring 46 x 73 cm. This piece is a notable representation of the Romanticism movement in art and falls into the genre of history painting. Currently housed at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain, the artwork conveys a powerful scene reflective of historical events associated with the Inquisition.

The artwork depicts a somber and intense scene set within a darkened chamber, likely a tribunal hall, where the proceedings of the Spanish Inquisition are taking place. Three central figures are presented before an assembly; one is seated on a platform, wearing a tall, pointed hat known as a coroza, a symbol of penance imposed upon those found guilty by the tribunal. The audience, composed of numerous figures cloaked in the garb of the Inquisition, occupies the space with a mixture of focus and detached indifference. The atmosphere is charged with tension and gravity.

The use of chiaroscuro, a technique that contrasts light and dark to create depth and volume, highlights the central figures and dramatizes the setting. Goya’s work often grapples with themes of human suffering and injustice, and this portrayal of the Inquisition is no exception. The expressions of despair and resignation on the accused individuals, coupled with the inquisitorial gaze of the clerical figures, evoke a sense of dread and evoke a contemplation of the era’s oppressive mechanisms of power and control.

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