Procession of Flagellants (1793) by Francisco Goya

Procession of Flagellants - Francisco Goya - 1793

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Artwork Information

TitleProcession of Flagellants
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions46 x 73 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain

About Procession of Flagellants

The artwork titled “Procession of Flagellants” was created by the artist Francisco Goya in 1793. It is an oil painting executed on a panel and belongs to the Romanticism art movement. Measuring 46 x 73 cm, this history painting is part of the collection housed at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain.

In the artwork, Goya portrays a somber religious procession. The scene appears to be set outdoors, likely in a town square or similar open area. In the background, crowds of onlookers gathered around a platform where figures of religious significance, possibly effigies or statues, are displayed. One figure that stands out distinctly is the central effigy of the Virgin, adorned with what appears to be a halo of light, conferring a sense of sacredness and reverence.

The foreground is dominated by a group of individuals participating in acts of penance; these are the flagellants, who can be seen whipping their own backs as a form of public self-punishment and devotion. Their bodies bear the marks of their self-inflicted pain, highlighted by the stark red of blood against their pale skin. Many of the flagellants wear conical hats, and some are partly robed, with their upper torsos exposed for the act of flagellation. Figures clad in traditional cloaks and hoods, possibly members of religious brotherhoods or orders, are interspersed among the flagellants. The attire and gestures of these figures convey a mix of solemnity and ritual participation.

The compositional elements of light and shadow, the representation of movement, and the raw display of human suffering encapsulate the emotional intensity characteristic of the Romantic era. Goya’s handling of the subject matter suggests an exploration of fervent religious expression and the stark realities of human existence, prompting contemplation on the nature of faith, penance, and communal observance.

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