Virtues and vices
- Virtues and vices are essential concepts of moral philosophy as they represent the strengths and weaknesses of humanity. Among the main themes in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers is the attainment of a virtuous existence through the rejection of pleasure. The fathers of Christianity also wrote extensively on virtues and vices, though these were not standardized until about the 10th or 11th centuries. The virtues are divided into two groups. The first, the Cardinal Virtues, derive from Plato's Republic and consist of temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude. The second, the Theological Virtues, are faith, hope, and charity. These are listed in the Bible, in I Corinthians 13:13. The vices, or Seven Deadly Sins, are pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. Virtues and vices often appear in art. Giotto included their personifications in the lower tier of the Arena Chapel frescoes in Padua (1305). In Andrea Mantegna's Expulsion of the Vices from the Garden of Virtue (1497; Paris, Louvre), Minerva rids the garden of evil. The Virtues are included in the lower panels of Andrea Pisano's bronze doors for the Baptistery of Florence (1330-1334) and in Jacopo della Quercia's Fonte Gaia in Perugia (1414-1419). The Vices appear in Hieronymus Bosch's Hay Wain Triptych (c. 1490-1495; El Escorial, Monasterio de San Lorenzo) and they are the main subject of his Seven Deadly Sins tabletop (c. 1475) at the Madrid Prado Museum.
Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. Lilian H. Zirpolo. 2008.
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