The Inquisition Tribunal

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The Inquisition Tribunal ( Escena de Inquisición ), 1812–1819. Oil on panel, 46cm x 73cm. Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid

The Inquisition Tribunal, also known as The Court of the Inquisition or The Inquisition Scene (Spanish: Escena de Inquisición ), is an 18x29 inch oil-on-panel painting produced by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya between 1812 and 1819. It shows an Auto de fe (translation: act of faith), or an accusation of heretics, by the tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition, being held inside a church. The four accused people are wearing tall, pointed coroza’s on their heads and the sleeveless vests, known as sambenito, describing their heresies. Ringed around the accused are the clerics and Inquisitors and farther back a sea of invited guests fill the church interior, witnessing the drama. The work was owned by Manuel García de la Prada and is now in the collection of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.

The painting belongs to a series which also includes The Bullfight, The Madhouse and A Procession of Flagellants, all showing some of the most terrible aspects of 19th-century Spanish life and reflecting customs which liberals (of whom Goya was then one) wished to reform but whose reform was opposed by the absolutist policy of Ferdinand VII of Spain. Each painting in the series is marked by an instance of cruelty, here the threat of being burned at the stake, symbolised by the pointed hats worn by the accused. Every figure in the foreground is in the light, individualised and well-characterised, whereas the background is occupied by an anonymous mass of people shut in by darkness and a claustrophobic Gothic architecture. A procession of flagellants is one of Goya's art work that shows the presence of cruelty, where blood is seen flowing out onto the white garment of figures. Its size is 46cm x 73cm (18Inches x 29Inches). It is an oil on panel. The clothed Maja is another painting that is an oil on canvas painting measuring 97cm x 190cm (38Inches x 75Inches) in size. " it is renowned for the straight forward and unashamed gaze of the model towards the viewers". "Goya did not only upset the ecclesiastical authorities with this work but also titillated the public and extended the artistic horizon of the day". The witches flight is another art work completed in 1798. It is "an oil on canvas" measuring 43.5cm x 30.5cm (17.75Inches x 12Inches). it's been described as "the most beautiful and powerful of Goya's witch painting" it represent a "rationalist critique of superstition and ignorance particularly in religious matters".


  • BozaL, Valeriano, Francisco Goya, vida y obra, Madrid, Tf, 2005, 2 vols. (Aficiones, 5-6), vol. 2, pages 170-171. ISBN 978-84-96209-39-8. (Spanish)
  • Stearns, Monroe, Goya and His Times, New York, Franklin Watts, Inc, 1966, pages 29 and 140.
  • Hughes, Robert. "Goya". New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Print. pages 335-336.

.Voorhies, James, "Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) and the Spanish enlightenment" The metropolitan museum of art. Web. 22 march 2014.

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