The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters

100 Greatest Painters  Artists Alphabetically  Artists by Country  Artists by Century   Artists by Movement

The Spanish Inquisitions Impact On Art History

The Spanish Inquisition is, without a doubt, one of the darkest examples of man's capacity for inhumanity. The Catholic Church persecuted, tortured, burned, and murdered people of all faiths from Peru to Holland. Yet, even in the face of such institutionalized evil and bloody cultural imperialism, art was created.

The art of the Inquisition period is stark, hyper-real, and graphic. It very much reflects the violence and religious fear of the era, with zealous, almost medical depictions of wounded saints and the crucifixion. The religious icons of the Inquisition are spindly, dying creatures with pale, exsanguinated skin and red, weeping wounds. 

Francisco de Zurbarán, known as "the Spanish Caravaggio" for his use of intense but realistic chiaroscuro technique he was the master of, depicted clergy, saints, and martyrs with strikingly human visages. Beatific gazes and stoic perfection are replaced with weariness, worry, and pain in much of his work. Suffering, torment, and exhaustion were the emotions of the Inquisition within Spain and his figures wear the feelings in every crease on their faces and downward cast of their eye.


The Meaning of Sacred Symbols in Paintings. Most prominently featured  symbols and their meaning:

The  Serpent

Good Shepherd


Adam and Eve




Virgin Mary


The Anchor

The Apostles



The Cross

Architectural Elements



The Saints









Household Object

Clothing and Accessories


Important Words, People, Phrases, Characteristics related to the Italian Renaissance Art Movement - rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world, City-state, Humanism, Humanist, Francesco Petrarch, Reform, The Prince, Theocracy, The Inquisition, Human Reasoning, Medici Academy, publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists, sfumato, chiaroscuro, linear perspectiveHeliocentric Theory, Petrarch, Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, liberal arts, civic humanism, Verrocchio, secularism, Leonardo Bruni, Lorenzo Valla, Neo-Platonism, nominalism, Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Quattrocento, vanishing point, Savonarola, oligarchy spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  iconoclast,  Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci,  Age of Discovery, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world, mythology,  realistic use of colours and light Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parablesThe Blackdeath, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism. Paradise

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Milanese School,
Ferrara School
Sienese School
Florentine School
Venetian School
Early Renaissance
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 Northern Renaissance

Popular Questions About  Renaissance Art History

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