The Table of the Deadly Sins

This table once stood in the chambers of King Philip the Second at the Escorial. On it, Bosch placed a circle containing scenes that refer to the seven deadly sins. At the edges, we can see four smaller circles, which represent death, the final judgement, hell and heaven. In the centre of the table, Christ resurrected can be seen, with an inscription that warns: “Beware, God can see you”. Around him, the deadly sins are depicted anti-clockwise: wrath, pride, lust, sloth, gluttony, greed, and envy.

The scenes are burlesque and display a fine sense of humour. In the Wrath scene, two men are seen fighting, probably over a woman, who is trying to stop them. In Pride, a woman gazes at herself in the mirror inside an ornate room (does she see herself as beautiful?). In Lust, we see a lovely day in the countryside, with a splendid tent, good food, and a beautiful woman. What could bring greater happiness than this! In the picture of Sloth, a man sits in a comfortable room, in a good armchair, with a cat wrapped around his feet, and a beautiful chambermaid. In Gluttony, we see an untidy room, with bits and pieces strewn over the floor, a man devouring everything on the table, and a child with dirty nappies on whom the feast has already had an effect. The scene showing Greed is reminiscent of a debtor’s trial, and last of all, in Envy, we see a man taking away everything his neighbour possesses.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns