Julio Ruelas, Auto de fe

Date: 1906
Technique: Ink on paper, 23 x 17 cm

An auto-da-fé (also auto da fé and auto de fe) was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition or the Portuguese Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed. Both 'auto de fe' in medieval Spanish and 'auto da fé' in Portuguese mean "act of faith".

As the burning at the stake for heresy was perhaps the most profound and moving aspect of many autos-da-fé, this particular aspect of it, that is, the act of burning at the stake eventually became the primary meaning of the phrase in popular usage, despite the fact that such was not the original meaning of the phrase.

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