‘Seven Deadly Sins’ paintings: Blow-ups & Interpretations.

Deadly sins in some faiths today refer to behavior outside the norm, acts  that estrange  people from “being right with God.” (Catholics also call these less serious transgressions “cardinal” or “capital” sins, the latter because they engender other sins or vices. “Mortal” sins, by contrast, are much more serious and include such acts as murder and other felony crimes.)

Paintings —  Bad people, according to some Faiths. The Deadly Sins series.

A Public Relations message about a recent exhibition of my Seven Deadly Sins series noted—

     “Karl Schonborn returns to our gallery walls this July.  His current works will keep you guessing — and talking — long after you leave the exhibit. The images and statements are clearly influenced by Karl’s being         both a criminologist and an artist. His drawings and paintings deal with sin, crime, deviance, violence, and his fave: heroes, villains and fools.”

Seven Deadly Sins.

Before going to the online Gallery and without Googling, try go guess which canvas depicts which of the seven deadly sins in the photo below.  

To see blow-ups  of these seven paintings visit KarlSchonborn.com and hit the “Artwork” tab at the top.

All Seven Deadly Sins paintings at a recent exhibit. 7 paintings hung on a gunmetal grey wall.

Seven Deadly Sins at a recent exhibit.

Seven Deadly Sins Interpretations.

There are a variety of levels at which you can appreciate the Deadly Sins paintings.

  • The most obvious and most literal is the reminder that moderation in all things wins the day.  As much of the world starts their version of winter solstice this time of year, there are plenty of temptations. These cause people to forget the simple rules for living, which some religions calls “sins.” So eat and indulge sensibly, don’t get mad at your relatives, and don’t get too greedy around gifts.
  • Another level is to notice that these sins add up to a “criminal justice system.” That is, they constitute advice on how individuals living in groups can live in harmony, can live  without  annoying one another unduly.
    Together with the Ten commandments in Christianity, the Seven pretty much cover the waterfront.
  • At an abstract level, the symbols squirreled away in the paintings suggest that the Christian  and Islamic faiths have something huge in common. These Faiths have agreed over the millennia on the norms, rules, and laws that help people get along with one another.
    Thus, these paintings wonder out loud, “Why can’t we all get along?” (Remember, that iconic line from Rodney King? His beating by out-of-control Los Angeles police officers triggered a riot. And also,  mega soul-searching about the state of race relations in America.)
    So, maybe there’s more common ground among Muslims and Christians than politicians suggest. The paintings don’t include Jewish symbols since Judeo-Christian commonalities are well-known.
  • Your Turn?
    What other interpretations do you have of these paintings, taken individually or as a series? Again, to see enlargements of the works, go here and scroll down the page to the Seven Deadly Sins section. Click on any painting for a blow-up photo of the generally 3′ x 3′ or 2′ x 2’  works.

I’d like to hear from you and would be grateful for any, and all,  feedback. That means negative as well as positive reactions.



To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.

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