This is one of the few paintings in Spanish American art to deal with this topic. The auto da fe depicted is not one of those carried out by the Holy Inquisition, since the Indians were outside the latter’s jurisdiction and not subject to its authority. An auto da fe was a public ceremony, meant to serve as an example to the rest of the population and at which attendance was obligatory, where prisoners were reprimanded for their offenses. In this case, we are shown a ceremony presided over by the Archdiocesan Office of the Vicar General for Indians. At the center, six Indians (including two women) are positioned on a wooden platform with their backs to the audience. Dressed in the prescribed penitential pointed cap and gown, they are holding two long wax candles across their chests while having penance imposed on them by the pertinent authorities. In the background, under a multifoliate arch, stands an altar presided over by the priest who celebrated the mass, Nicolás López Xardón, who, labeled with the number one, is seated in a monks chair. Recent research has concluded that the person under a canopy to the left of the altar, labeled with the number two, is Juan Ignacio de Castoreña y Ursua, Vicar General for Natives and the probable commissioner of this work. Both the characters portrayed -which include persons dressed in the French style, Indian chiefs, various civil and ecclesiastic authorities, and the common people (including the odd beggar)- and their positions are a priceless testimony to the importance attached to protocol and rank in this ritualistic show, which was kept up even in the settlements most distant from the big cities. This work was donated to the MUNAL by the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in 1991.