The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things

I am illiterate when it comes to art, but sometimes I see some paintings and try to search at the meanings behind it, just like this one: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things.

“The painting is presented in a series of circular images: four small circles, detailing “Death”, “Judgement”, “Hell”, and “Glory”, surround a larger circle in which the seven deadly sins are depicted. At the centre of the large circle, which is said to represent the eye of God, is a “pupil” in which Christ can be seen emerging from his tomb. Below this image lies the Latin inscription Cave Cave Deus Videt (“Beware, Beware, God is Watching”), implying that no sin goes unnoticed.”

The seven deadly sins are depicted in daily activities. Superbia (Pride), shown by a vain, bourgeoisie woman admiring herself in a mirror held up by the devil. A box jewels, implying vanity, lies open on the floor, and there are jugs and vases throughout the house, implying pride of home. Ira (Anger/Wrath), is depicted by a street fight between neighbors. Invidia (Jealousy/Envy), by a verbal quarrel, and enhanced by barking dogs with bared teeth, eyeing bones. This embodies the proverb “Two dogs with one bone seldom reach agreement.” These scenes show that one is never satisfied with what one has, and only wants what others have. Avaritia (Greed/Avarice) is a rich man taking money from a poor man, while bribing a judge. Gula (Gluttony) – people voraciously eating a feast. Accidia (Sloth/Laziness) is a woman dressed for church, yet trying to wake a man deep in slumber. The Luxuria (Lust) panel shows two sets of lovers talk, with musical instruments lying on the ground.

Death – a man receives his last rites, while a devil and an angel wait to see which will take his soul. In another room, family members still play cards as he is dying.
Last Judgment – Christ resides over the dead, as they rise from their graves.
Heaven – St. Peter greets the saved before an orderly, harmonious court illuminated by divine light.
Hell – dark, disordered, and fraught with torture and destruction.


3 responses to “The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things

  1. If the seven deadly sins were stated into law, there would be many catastrophes all over the world. For it should be implemented, that way (american) people can appreciate the little things that are taken for granted. May this one day be a lesson to the few or millions who have read upon these sins. -ez

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