Altarpiece depicts penance and the everyday rites of the Christian society that are executed from birth to death. Hieronymus Pooch’s Table Top of the Seven Deadly Sins exhibits the seven sins engaged by people under the watchful eye of Christ that must be accounted for on judgment day. Both works are representations of the same important idea of penance. The apparent realism of artists such as Rosier van deer Wedded and Hieronymus Busch is more than mere imitation of the world they saw around them: it embodies a wealth of religious symbolism.
In the left wing of Rosier van deer Hoyden’s Seven Sacraments Altarpiece the viewer can see how people are born into the supernatural life as sinners and must be baptized in order to receive grace from God, then are strengthened by confirmation and finally, recover the supernatural life lost by sin through penance. The painting was commissioned by the bishop of Touring, Jean Chevron, who can be seen in the left panel conducting confirmation. The right wing presents how people must be ready for the journey that will lead them to heaven through the last rites, how holy orders provide ministers for the church, and matrimony.
In the center panel the scene of the Crucifixion, the fundamental act of redemption, is shown. The exercise of the sacraments are meant to strengthen and nourish one’s faith. The Seven Sacraments Altarpiece serves as a visual representation of institutional devotion. One must physically be present in the Church and must fulfill these sacraments in order to free oneself of his/her sins. Hieronymus Pooch’s Table Top of the Seven Deadly Sins was formerly owned by Philip II and now resides in the Prod. The topic of this painting consists of theological warnings through allegorical depictions of stories bout the vices from the Bible.
This panel serves as a warning meant to intimidate one into redemption. Christ is pictured in the center bearing the marks of crucifixion. His presence reminds the sinner of what he went through to get him/her out of trouble with God, yet they continue their hard- headed misdeeds. The painting itself is in the form of an eye to allude to the viewer that Christ sees all. Busch presents an image where the only true sight comes from outside of the image, on the part of the viewer, or from the eye of God. It is evident that Busch meant to warn the viewer by inscribing Beware, beware, the Lord sees” around the iris.
The Table Top of the Seven Deadly Sins displays the rituals one must undergo to be forgiven whereas the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece presents the viewer with a warning that the Lord will see his/her misdeeds and he/she will be condemned to hell if they do not seek repentance before judgment day. Busch and van deer Wedded underscore the message that in order to be saved on judgment day, one must have accounted for their sins and fulfilled their rites. Both paintings are monuments Of the ideology that one must repent for his/her sins because the Lord is always watching.
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