Hieronymus Bosch 1450-1516 BACK

Tabletop of the Seven Sins
oil on panel 120x150cm
The Prado

Bosch, Seven Sins

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This painting was intended to be displayed lying flat. With its banderoles containing biblical inscriptions and the four circular scenes set into a dark background in the corners, the format recalls designs of stained glass windows. It has been pointed out that the four scenes in the corners show the Last Four Things:

  • Death
  • Last Judgement
  • Hell
  • Heaven

  • In the center is the Resurrected Christ and the Seven Deadly Sins are graphically shown around him in the shape of a mirror. The tabletop was presumably used by its owner as an object of contemplation and reflection upon human - and personal - sinfullness. The seven sins are:

  • Ira (Anger)--> a woman restrains her angry, drunken husband
  • Superbia (Pride)--> a woman admires herself in a mirror held by a devil disguised as a servant
  • Luxuria (Lust)--> a young man & woman flirt, as they eat & drink while a jester entertains
  • Accidia (Sloth)--> a man dozes in front of a fire while a nun reminds him of his religious duty
  • Gula (Gluttony)--> a fat man and his fat child eat while a thin man drinks
  • Avarcia (Avarice)--> shows a corrupt judge taking a bribe
  • Invida (Envy)--> a bourgeois looks longingly at a wealthy aristocrat, envying his lifestyle

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