Temperance is known by her two pitchers, which she uses to dilute wine with water. She personifies restraint or the middle way, as suggested by her position between a sphere and a cube. Saint Thomas Aquinas preached that the cardinal virtues (Temperance, Justice, Prudence, and Fortitude) were crucial to Christian salvation—a preoccupation of Protestant reformers. Temperance is sometimes paired with Lust, her opposite. In a strange way, the figure’s clinging dress and loose shoulder strap evoke the desires she urges people to keep in check.
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