Mr. Punch’s Auto-da-fe

Mr. Punch’s Auto da fé
Gouache and pencil on illustration board
15 by 20 inches


New work, still on the drawing board, inspired in great part by personal frustration and a general sense of impotent hopelessness.

My latest works are frequently snide, furtive symbolist comments on what I find frustrating , annoying and frequently terrifying (I wish I felt uplifted by society, but in what feels an apocalyptic age of societal decay , I do not).  The silencing of dissenting or unpopular perspectives through public shaming by what is loosely referred to as “cancel culture”  has for some time recalled to me  the Inquisition with its spectacle of public humiliation and penance through the ceremonial auto-da-fé. Whereas in the 16th century there was raucous public degradation and self flagellation of the accused with their pointy headed capirotes, the damned garbed shamefully in their “shirt of flame”, the samarra sanbenito.  The accused trespasser of our day, faces an even more relentlessly raucous mob, the unclean must grovel and tearfully (sincerely or not) repent publicly  to the politically “woke”elite, hoping against hope to be allowed back into the fold .

I wince every time  I witness  yet again another sinner, who having  failed to tow the party-member line, frequently trespassing ever so slightly, must quiver in isolated shame, flagellating themselves performatively to an unforgiving, intolerant mob.  I question why they do that to themselves, can’t they stand by their convictions?  But would I be any different if I were in their more high profile shoes? 

I fear not, for even this modest post, one read by very few, is still contrary to the generally left, increasingly far left of center art world ; such a stance has me wondering if Mr. Punch will be garbing me in the flames of contrition any time soon.



Afterthought, I used the word “woke” above, I do not like that word, it is too vague, too broad a brush, it is a lazy shorthand . The attached article below explores the word, its possible ideology with more sensitivity, compassion and eloquence.

“In return, the people formerly known as “woke” need to cut it out with the witch hunts. I hope they understand by now that politics by inquisition is unsustainable. Eventually, the guillotine finds its way to you.”

The substack  Journal of Free Black Thought is well worth a subscription.

A few details:

Detail “Mr. Punch’s Auto-da-fé”
Detail with “Capirote” head gear and Shirt of Flame “samarra sanbenito”.

Organizing photographs I came upon this forgotten (lost?) painting of Mr. Punch. I’ve loved the awful mean spirited Punch since boyhood, it is little wonder as I approach sixty that he keeps reappearing.

Mixed media
approx 40 by 30?
Mr. Punch’s Auto da fé
Gouache and pencil on illustration board
15 by 20 inches

Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

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