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Study for Inquisition, Illustration to Columbiad

A work made of oil paint, over touches of graphite, on cream wove paper, laid down on stipple etching, etching, and aquatint in black on cream wove paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil paint, over touches of graphite, on cream wove paper, laid down on stipple etching, etching, and aquatint in black on cream wove paper.

Date:

c. 1806

Artist:

Henry Fuseli
Swiss, active in England, 1741-1825

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Fuseli’s painted sketch (a study for an unpublished engraving) illustrates lines from the early American poet Joel Barlow’s Columbiad (published 1807), an epic account in verse of the founding of the United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.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Henry Fuseli

Title

Study for Inquisition, Illustration to Columbiad

Origin

England

Date

1805–1809

Medium

Oil paint, over touches of graphite, on cream wove paper, laid down on stipple etching, etching, and aquatint in black on cream wove paper

Inscriptions

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"

Dimensions

529 × 446 mm

Credit Line

The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1922.5686

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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