The ceiling depicts the seven virtues: faith, charity, hope, justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance. The virtues are depicted as female figures whose characteristics reflect the values and thought of the 17th century. Do the virtues still speak to us today?
When people of the 17th century looked up at the ceiling, the virtues were a reminder of exemplary ideals of how they should act for their own and for the common good:
Is the collective voluntary effort in society now, an expression of virtues at the present time? When the corona virus suddenly turned the world on its head, it was the spirit of cooperation which brought us together. Are the values we attach to this community effort as self-evident to us as the virtues were for people of the 17th century? Collective voluntary effort implies solidarity, fellowship and care. Support for these values is expressed by following a few simple rules: “Wash your hands, keep your distance, help others, stay at home if you can!”
Faith, charity, hope, justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance – the current crisis raises many questions about values, which make the virtues in the 17th century ceiling current and timeless expressions of universal human values.
You can read more about the plaster ceiling and the seven virtues here: