Auto da Fé-Spain in the Middle Ages

WAG 2743


A female heretic is prepared for burning by the Spanish Inquisition. Dressing the victim in robes decorated with demons and flames was part of the ceremony. Burton includes strong symbolism. He combines a crucifix with a pike and places the flaming torch, which will ignite the fire, near a lily signifying purity. The artist contributed this explanation of the subject: 'A condemned heretic being prepared for taking her place, with others, in the ecclesiastical and military procession through the streets to the place of execution; the Holy Inquisition having declared her guilty of heresy, and condemned her to be burnt alive.'