Serafino de' Serafini, Allegory of St. Augustine as Master of the Order

Second half of the 14th century
Fresco finished with tempera and lime, removed and transferred onto canvas
301 x 219 in. (764 x 556 cm.)
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara, Italy

At the top St. Augustine presides over a conclave of eight savants. Those on the left have halos and are labeled by inscriptions, the first two of them illegible. The third figure from the left is St. Paul; fourth from the left is Moses. On the right, the only legible inscription is for the third figure from the right, "Plato Metaphysics."

According to this page at the Pinacoteca's website, "On the level below, the seven Heavenly and Cardinal Virtues trample the seven Deadly Sins." Because of its prominence, I would suggest that the figure in the middle of the Virtues is Charity, the chief of the three "theological virtues" Faith, Hope, and Charity – the Pinacoteca web page calls them "Heavenly Virtues" (e.g. I Corinthians 13:13) flanked by Hope on the left and Faith on the right. Hope can be identified by her wings, with which she is identified in Psalm 56:2 ("in the shadow of thy wings will I hope") and Isaiah 40:31 ("they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall take wings as eagles"). Also note Emily Dickinson's poem, "‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers."

In the bottom register the Seven Deadly Sins Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath and Sloth are represented by seven historical figures. It is not clear, however, which historical figures go with which sins or how each one relates to the Virtue above it. The third figure from the left is labeled "Herod the Manic" or "Herod the Tyrannic," representing Wrath, which characterizes him in the mystery plays. Next come "Arius the Heretic" and "Judas Despairing" (Envy and Pride?) "Holofernes" is next, an obvious victim of Lust, and finally "Epicurus," poster child for Gluttony.

The Pinacoteca gives the above title on the label adjoining this work but on its website calls it Triumph of Saint Augustine.

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Photographed at the gallery by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.