‘Galileo before the Roman Inquisition’ by Robert Alexander Hillingford (1825-1904).
The painting depicts Galileo’s appearance before the Roman Inquisition in 1633 when he was accused of heresy for his belief in the theory of heliocentrism. After refusing to recant, despite the threat of torture, Galileo was placed under house arrest where he remained for the rest of his life.
Robert Alexander Hillingford was a highly successful Victorian painter of historical and literary scenes who became most famous for his portrayals of the Napoleonic Wars. Between 1864 and 1902 Hillingford exhibited 29 works at the Royal Academy, and numerous others the British Institution and the Royal Society of British Artists in London.
Further Reading: ‘The Hillingford Chronicles’, a detailed account of the life and work of the artist, is now available via the News & Articles page of the Academy Fine Paintings website.