Virtues and vices

Patience, anger, sloth, diligence

In modern times we may have lost a certain familiarity with the visual stereotypes once used to express the strengths and flaws of human character and human behaviour. That does not mean that religion and morality, 'good and bad', are no longer subject of public debate. On the contraty, this debate has never before in history been so broad, diffuse and variegated. So, there is ample reason to spend some time looking at the virtues and vices identified and visualized in the Middle Ages.

Here, we have brought together a small selection of personifications and scenes symbolizing various positive and negative qualities. To illustrate desirable moral qualities or stability of faith, reference was often made to biblical figures. Patience and Strength, for example, were associated with Patience and strength: Job and Samson.

Sapientia with a vision of God with angels in Heaven -More images

Sapientia with a vision of God with angels in Heaven -More images

Caritas - Charity/Love -More images

Caritas - Charity/Love -More images

Prudentia, Wisdom and Knowledge -More images

Prudentia, Wisdom and Knowledge -More images

A survey of The Seven Deadly Sins (symbolized) -More images

A survey of The Seven Deadly Sins (symbolized) -More images

The Pilgrim is attacked by Hypocrisy and Gluttony -More images

The Pilgrim is attacked by Hypocrisy and Gluttony -More images

Two philosophers discussing idols ~ Unbelief -More images

Two philosophers discussing idols ~ Unbelief -More images