The Easel

Archives: The Economist

13th October 2020

The National Gallery offers a powerful but partial view of transgression

In the sixth century, Pope Gregory helpfully listed seven deadly sins. Are they still deadly? Sinfulness these days carries mild connotations – a second helping of chocolate cake. Most religious concepts of sin which permeate European art history no longer resonate. A London show reveals a single exception: the one such concept that resonates as much as ever is the scapegoat.