Francisco Goya, the Spanish artist known for his biting critiques of the social and political climate of his time, created a set of black paintings that included the Inquisition Scene. This painting was executed on the walls of Goya’s home between 1812-1819, and it can now be found in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.
The Inquisition Scene depicts a somber subject matter, typical of Goya’s black paintings. The painting forms part of a thematic set with other works depicting religious ceremonies like A Procession of Flagellants and Inquisition Scene. Through his depictions, Goya aimed to mock medieval fears exploited for political gain by exposing their absurdity.
Goya was highly productive as he produced work as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker during this period – this particular piece is said to have been completed out of interest rather than commission. He had twice been summoned by the Inquisition himself – once in relation to Los Caprichos prints – which could explain his willingness to critique its practices so vehemently through his art.
It should be noted that art collectors cannot take ownership over The Inquisition Scene or any related works because they were donated to the Spanish state by financier José Lázaro Galdiano.