Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



In 18th century New Spain, autos-de-fé were publicly performed as a way to openly confront the sins of heretics and to announce their penance. Paintings of these events are among the rarest scenes ever depicted on both sides of the Atlantic. Paintings, such as Un auto de f\xe8 en el pueblo de San Bartolomé Otzolotepec ca.1716, emphasize the impressive display of power enacted by the inquisition through autos-de-fé. However, they downplay the presence of the indigenous spectator-participant in lieu of the organizers and elite invitees. In terms of content, however, this painting represents a unique example of auto images since its subject matter centers around the judging of Natives. Furthermore, in this thesis, I examine autos-de-fé in New Spain by analyzing its performance through pictorial and written accounts as well as by studying the space in which autos took place. Besides providing a new interpretation of the event this interpretation aims to produce a deeper understanding of auto-de-fé images in general.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hernandez-Duran, Raymond

Second Committee Member

Buick, Kirsten Pai

Third Committee Member

Johnston, Adrian


Art History, Novohispanic Inquisition