MAGNASCO, Alessandro
(b. 1667, Genova, d. 1749, Genova)

Interrogations in Jail

c. 1710
Oil on canvas
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Magnasco painted scenes in which he showed up the anxieties of his age, as for instance in this picture, which depicts a torture-chamber of the Inquisition. He borrowed some of his motifs from Callot's etchings, but the expressive arrangement and flowing rhythm of the groups are a reflection of his own highly individual and original style.

This is one of a group of three paintings inspired by the disasters of war. Looting, the wounded, and torture are all depicted in a lucid, almost documentary style, which could almost be regarded as a form of protest, uncommon though that was at the time.