Spain 1792 - the Catholic Church is at the height of its powers. The revolution has sent neighbouring France into turmoil and the Spanish church decides to restore order by bringing back the dreaded Inquisition. Spearheading this movement is the enigmatic and cunning priest Lorenzo, a man who seeks power above all.
Lorenzo's friend is Francisco Goya, Spain's most famous artist and portraitist to kings and queens. When his beautiful model Ines is unjustly imprisoned and tortured by the Inquisition their friendship is put to a test as Goya begs Lorenzo to spare the poor girl's life.
With the torture-ravaged Ines' life in his hands, he rapes her and leaves her to rot in hidden dungeons.
Almost two decades later, just before the French armies invade Spain, Goya is a different man. Having lost his hearing entirely, he has become a dark, disturbed man, almost a ghost of himself. But it is now that he has entered his most famous creative period.
Lorenzo, having been banished by the Spanish church, fled to France, only to return in a new guise as chief prosecutor for Napoleon's regime. Now he can take revenge on the very men that threw him out of Spain - he relishes the opportunity to persecute his old allies of the Spanish Inquisition.
When the French abolish the Inquisition, all its prisoners are set free. Ines, the once beautiful figure of Goya's paintings and dreams, emerges from prison not only having lost her youth but also to find her once powerful family slaughtered in their own home.
The only person she has left in this world now is the mad, old Goya.
He becomes her protector and she reveals that she gave birth to a girl during her imprisonment.
When Goya discovers Alicia, Ines' daughter, working as a prostitute, he confronts Lorenzo who finally admits having raped Ines and being the father of her child. But mother and daughter are still far from being reunited.
The power map of Europe continues its seismic changes as Spain is onc