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Social Status And Sin: Reading Bosch's Prado Seven Deadly Sins And Four Last Things Painting

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Chapter Summary

The iconography of the work is derived in part from lay spiritual movements whose ideas were circulating in and around the Netherlands at the end of the fifteenth century. This essay will examine the representation of social status in the scenes illustrating the sins that fill the outer ring of the central circle of the Prado painting. The representations of individuals within the scenes show people from all classes, ages, and both genders engaged in committing one or more of the sins. The concept of mirrors and mirroring in the Middle Ages has been the subject of a great deal of scholarship. The multivalent interpretations of the sins, cast as they are around the all seeing eye of God with its mirror-like aspect, creates a wheel promoting memory and forging connections between the sins themselves as well as those who commit them.

Keywords: mirrors; Prado painting; Sin

10.1163/ej.9789004157859.i-312.56
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