The Painter of the Immodest Picture

A true story of a soul whom was nearly damned because of painting an immodest picture; as told in the book “Purgatory” by Rev. F.X. Schouppe.

Featured image:  Purgatory scene in Völs am Schlern


A painter of great skill and otherwise exemplary life

had once made a painting not at all conformable
to the strict rules of Christian modesty. It was one of
those paintings which, under the pretext of being works of
art, are found in the best families, and the sight of which
causes the loss of so many souls.

True art is an inspiration from Heaven, which elevates
the soul to God ; profane art, which appeals to the senses
only, which presents to the eye nothing but the beauties of
flesh and blood, is but an inspiration of the evil spirit…

The artist of whom we speak had allowed himself to
be misled in this point by bad example. Soon, however,
renouncing this pernicious style, he confined himself to
the production of religious pictures, or at least of those
which were perfectly irreproachable. Finally, he was
painting a large picture in the convent of the discalced
Carmelites, when he was attacked by a mortal malady.

Feeling that he was about to die, he asked the Prior to
allow him to be interred in the church of the monastery,
and bequeathed to the community his earnings, which
amounted to a considerable sum of money, charging them
to have Masses said for the repose of his soul. He died
in pious sentiments, and a few days passed, when a Religious
who had stayed in the choir after Matins saw him appear
in the midst of flames and sighing piteously.

” What ! ” said the Religious, ” have you to endure such
pain, after leading so good a life and dying so holy a death ? ”
” Alas ! ” replied he, ” it is on account of the immodest
picture that I painted some years ago. When I appeared
before the tribunal of the Sovereign Judge, a crowd of
accusers came to give evidence against me. They declared that they had been excited to improper thoughts
and evil desires by a picture, the work of my hand. In
consequence of those bad thoughts some were in Purgatory, others in Hell. The latter cried for vengeance,
saying that, having been the cause of their eternal perdition,

I deserved, at least, the same punishment. Then
the Blessed Virgin and the saints whom I had glorified by
my pictures took up my defense. They represented to
the Judge that that unfortunate painting had been the
work of youth, and of which I had repented ; that I had
repaired it afterwards by religious objects which had been
a source of edification to souls.

” In consideration of these and other reasons, the Sove
reign Judge declared that, on account of my repentance
and my good works, I should be exempt from damnation ;
but at the same time, He condemned me to these flames
until that picture should be burned, so that it could no
longer scandalise any one.”

Then the poor sufferer implored the Religious to take
measures to have the painting destroyed ” I beg of you,”
he added, “go in my name to such a person, proprietor of
the picture ; tell him in what a condition I am for having

yielded to his entreaties to paint it, and conjure him to
make a sacrifice of it. If he refuses, woe to him ! To
prove that this is not an illusion, and to punish him for
his own fault, tell him that before long he will lose his two
children. Should he refuse to obey Him who has created
us both, he will pay for it by a premature death.”

The Religious delayed not to do what the poor soul
asked of him, and went to the owner of the picture. The
latter, on hearing these things, seized the painting and
cast it into the fire. Nevertheless, according to the words of
the deceased, he lost his two children in less than a month.
The remainder of his days he passed in penance, for having
ordered and kept that immodest picture in his house.

If such are the consequences of an immodest picture,
what, then, will be the punishment of the still more disastrous scandals resulting

from bad books, bad papers, bad
schools, and bad conversations? ” Woe to the
world because of scandals ! Woe to that man by whom
the scandal cometh !

Scandal makes great ravages in souls by the seduction
of innocence. Ah ! those accursed seducers ! They shall
render to God a terrible account of the blood of their


Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints by Rev. F.X. Schouppe, S.J. Page 95



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close