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Masquerades of Holy Week in the year [illeg.] (Mascaras de semana santa del año [illeg.]) (verso), 1796-1797

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828
Brushed India ink on paper
image: 7-1/8 x 4 1/4 in. (18.1 x 10.8 cm); sheet: 9-1/8 x 5-5/8 in. (23.2 x 14.2 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

The lighthearted, mildly erotic drawing on the recto of this page does not prepare one for the solemn, menacing image that awaits on its verso. Here, penitents walk in a Holy Week procession, each wearing a coroza, the tall, conical hats that distinguish them as victims of the Inquisition. The chilling scene is heightened by the eerie gaze of the figure who stops and turns toward the flagellant behind, who holds his own instrument of torture by his side. The blood, torment, and suffering memorialize the events of Good Friday and the Crucifixion of Christ, but also serve as Goya’s commentary on the church’s fanaticism and repression. The Spanish Inquisition was largely deflated when the French invaded Spain in 1808, and it was finally abolished in 1834.

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