Anyone for Some Sin?

Chat about Delaware’s arts and entertainment scene.


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Welcome to Delaware Today’s arts blog, the spot to dish on the many cultural opportunities available to Delaware audiences. We’ll cover as many genres as possible, and note cool events offered by organizations large and small, in all three counties.

First thing's first. The ugly rumors are true. There will be no Brandywine Arts Festival this weekend. We hope this is just a temporary end to a wonderful, 48-year tradition.  There are other visual arts events to consider.

Wyeth's Sin

The Seven Deadly Sins, otherwise known as lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride, desribe a broad range of bad human behavior. While the concept of the “deadly sins” dates back to the ancient Greeks, appalling behavior is as fresh as a daisy. In the exhibit “Jamie Wyeth—Seven Deadly Sins,” which opens at the Brandywine River Museum this weekend and runs thru November 22, the artist depicts scavenging seabirds as human sinners.

Scavenging birds. Human sinners.

James Browning Wyeth, the son of realist painter Andrew Wyeth, who was the son of famed illustrator N.C. Wyeth, has done several portraits of animals, most notably “Portrait of Pig,” “Newfoundland,” and “The Raven.” But the depiction of scavenging seabirds as human sinners was an interesting and artistic choice, one that should provoke great debate.

Consider that Wyeth, while not the only artist to illustrate the Seven Deadly Sins, was the first to interpret human vices by painting gulls. Gulls can be savage and mean.

Is Wyeth saying that humans are also savage and mean? Perhaps. Go down the list. Greed: CEOs enjoy bonuses as subordinates lose jobs. Gluttony: Billionaires get richer as the poor get hungrier. Envy: We are a society buried in resentment, terrified that our limelight will go dark. Which leads us to pride: Ever been dismissed as if you, your opinions, and your thoughts didn’t exist? Sure you have. We all have. We have all fallen victim to those who wish to stifle our contributions. And we all show our wrath in different ways.

This, of course, is just one interpretation of Wyeth’s concept. Other viewers may feel the opposite, sensing that there is more human kindness than there is sin, and a body of work that illustrates negativity only enforces what is positive.

There is no right or wrong. That’s the beauty of a great visual arts event. Human weakness is a delicious subject for the right artist. Wyeth is the right artist. His show makes for scintillating conversation.

Contact info: (610) 388-2700 or

Page 2: Totally Exposed

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