On the left is a soldier symbolising pride. Next to him we see greed with a well-stocked purse. The next pair shows a raging woman (wrath) and a horny man (lust). Gluttony is symbolised by a man devouring a sausage. Beside him, envy threatens with a knife, whose blade is smeared with blood. On the far right, we recognise sloth dressed in a nightgown, over which a snail crawls.
The copper etching acted as the 'frontispiece', the cover page of the album Les Péchés capitaux: a satirical album of eight etchings in which Ensor updates a traditional theme of Christian morality. The album, published in 1904, was provided with a preface by his close friend Eugène Demolder, of whom an intriguing portrait by Ensor's hand hangs in the Groeningemuseum.
Ensor in Musea Brugge collection
With this last missing etching from the series of the seven deadly sins, Musea Brugge owns a total of twenty hand-coloured prints. Together with the painting Icône. Portrait of Eugène Demolder (1893), they offer a representative sample of the various themes Ensor used in his work.