Bruce Nauman Seven Virtues/Seven Vices 1983-84

  • Not on view

Bruce Nauman first intended these seven limestone slabs to be either installed on the facade of a building or embedded in the ground. Each stone is inscribed with a word created from one of the seven deadly sins (as outlined in the Bible) layered over one of Plato’s four cardinal virtues or Christianity’s three theological virtues. Virtues and vices—prudence and pride, fortitude and anger, faith and lust, hope and envy, charity and sloth, temperance and gluttony, justice and avarice—become entangled, superimposed, intertwined, illegible, canceling each other out while at the same time appearing to create new words.

Gallery label from Against the Grain: Contemporary Art from the Edward R. Broida Collection, May 3–July 10, 2006.
Limestone, in seven parts
Prudence/Pride 23 3/4" x 6' 3" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 190.5 x 6 cm); Fortitude/Anger 23 3/4" x 6' 8 3/4" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 205.1 x 6 cm); Faith/Lust 23 3/4 x 47 1/4" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 120 x 6 cm); Hope/Envy 23 3/4 x 47 1/4" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 120 x 6 cm); Charity/Sloth 23 3/4" x 7' 10 1/2" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 240 x 6 cm); Temperance/Gluttony 23 3/4" x 7' 10 1/2" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 240 x 6 cm); Justice/Avarice 23 3/4 x 60 5/8" x 2 3/8" (60.3 x 154 x 6 cm)
Gift of Edward R. Broida
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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