- Inventory number
- Berruguete, Pedro
- Saint Dominic Guzmán presiding over an Auto-da-fe
- 1493 - 1499
- 154 cm x 92 cm
- On display
- Ávila, Convento de Santo Tomás, sacristía; adquirido a Ignacio de Jugo para el Museo de la Trinidad, 1867; Museo del Prado, 1872.
On a portable rostrum, Saint Dominic and six other judges preside over the auto-da-fe in which some Albigensian heretics are being judged, representing a well-known episode in his biography. Beside him, another figure holds the banner with the floral cross, an attribute of Saint Dominic. Some of the accused are already being burned, while two others, in the foreground, await their turn, wearing the "sanbenito" [a cloak worn by those condemned by the Inquisition] and cuirass with a sign reading: “condemned heretic”. In the background, still others await the judgment of Saint Dominic.
The arrangement of the stage and figures illustrates Berruguete's modernity with regard to new compositional trends, and this painting reveals his capacity for pictorial narration. The scene constitutes a magnificent chronicle of Castile at the time of the Catholic Monarchs. The characters dressed in fifteenth-century style, are realistic and believable almost to the point of anecdote, for example, the person sleeping below the saint.
This work comes from the sacristy of the convent of Santo Tomás in Ávila.