Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, 1460–1526)
Oil on wood panel
42 5/8 x 21 3/4 inches
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
Currently not on view
This pair of allegorical paintings was probably part of a quartet of panels illustrating the Four Cardinal Virtues (the other two are Justice and Fortitude). Here we see Temperance pouring liquid from one vessel into another—presumably diluting wine with water to suggest moderation, especially in the use of intoxicating liquor. Prudence holds a mirror, a means of both observing the truth and divining the future, to suggest the qualities of wisdom and self-discipline.
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