About this artwork
The Spanish Inquisition (symbolizing religious intolerance) is personified as a sinister-looking woman carrying a sword and holding a flaming vessel. She stands triumphantly atop the prone body of Truth. Peering out from behind her is a Dominican friar, an instrument of her authority.
Fuseli’s painted sketch (a study for an unpublished engraving) illustrates lines from the early American poet Joel Barlow’s Columbiad (published 1807), an epic account in verse of the founding of the United States. Barlow had commissioned illustrations from Fuseli, which were ultimately rejected. Notably, Fuseli painted this study directly on a reproductive engraving of one of his own paintings, which was presumably close at hand.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Henry Fuseli
- Study for Inquisition, Illustration to Columbiad
- Oil paint, over touches of graphite, on cream wove paper, laid down on stipple etching, etching, and aquatint in black on cream wove paper
- Inscribed across lower edge, in graphite: various numbers, possibly framers notations; verso, upper left, in graphite: "Fuessly, Heinrich / Fuseli, Henry 1741-1825)"; lower left, in brush and black ink: "Heinrich Fuessly 1741-1825"; upper left, in purple pencil: "Part of 236"; lower center, in graphite: "20 7/8 x 17 1/2"; lower left, in graphite (by AIC former staff member): "Titled "Inquisition" / by Prof. Gert Schiff"
- 529 × 446 mm
- The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection