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Interior of a Dominican Convent in Madrid

Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix, French, 1798 - 1863

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

51 1/4 × 63 3/4 inches (130.2 × 161.9 cm) Framed: 66 inches × 6 feet 6 5/8 inches × 6 3/8 inches (167.6 × 199.7 × 16.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 399, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1894

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The subject of this painting is from a popular nineteenth-century English novel, Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer, translated into French in 1821. A young man forced into a convent as a child undergoes harrowing trials in order to escape his punitive and corrupt surroundings. Here he is shown being dragged before the bishop of Madrid. The artist depicts a cavernous, vaulted room that is actually based on the interior of the Palace of Justice in Rouen, France. Delacroix's use of this decidedly un-Spanish, secular setting may have been an intentional reference to the oppressive link between civic and religious power, a theme prominent in the novel.

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