Seven Saints and Sinners, The Evil Influence [Plaster]

Dublin Core


Seven Saints and Sinners, The Evil Influence [Plaster]


Figure sculpture, American--20th century


The Evil Influence, 1939
(One of the Saints and Sinners)
1976 Plaster original

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall M. Fredericks

The Saints and Sinners, 1976
Plaster originals

In 1976, Fredericks enlarged these figures from the thirty-inch tall version that he created while at Cranbrook in 1939 for the Midland Center for the Arts. These seven figures are in the style of jamb statues found in the portals of Gothic cathedrals. Because these figures were attached to columns, they were elongated with unnatural proportions and Fredericks' figures all conform to this elongated form. They are all amusingly balanced atop small orbs. Although they are very similar in style, each one is individualized and possesses distinguishing attributes that in some way identifies them. The theme of this piece seems to parody the Seven Deadly Sins with Christian characters.

The thirty-inch tall bronze versions of these figures are in a case on the northeast wall in the Main Exhibit Gallery.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum




University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

120" h


Plaster full-scale

Catalog Number


Object Location

Main Exhibit Gallery


1987 July, 1 Gift to Museum and SVSU Board of Control


Thematic tour copy:
Originally created in the late 1930s in a 3 ½ ft. high size (The small scale bronzes are in a case by Friendly Frog.)
Even though there are seven separate sculptures, this is considered one whole piece. The title contains the number 7 and parodies the 7 Deadly Sins, a well known Christian theme. The figures are abstract as they are elongated and reflect a Gothic style. In 1976 they were enlarged to their present size and cast to be placed at Dow Gardens in Midland. Another full scale set can be found at Oakland University in front of the Kresge Library. Smaller size bronzes can be found at Northwood University (not on display) and the Dow Home and Studio both in Midland.

It's to be noted that both men and women appear as saints and sinners in this suite of sculptures. Sinning is just not attributed to any particular gender.

The titles are as follows:
The Evil Influence (Devil), Temptation, Warrior Saint, Mother and Child, Eve/ Knowledge of Good and Evil, Pious Monk Saint of the Church, and the Good Influence.

Ask your tour visitors how you can tell which are the saints or sinners. The answer is that saints have halo or nimbus. A halo indicates a divine person. It is like radiating light coming from the person similar to an aura. It appears circular in form for Mary, angels, and saints. Early forms of halos appear as a solid flat plate. During the Renaissance artists began to render them as a ring in form. Buddhists and Hindu believe that a halo has supernatural power inherent in all people and things

The Evil Influence
This figure is easily recognized as Satan or the Devil. The devil is a fallen angel that promotes evil. He has demonic features as in our sculpture. He is normally depicted with a tail, claws, horns, and cloven hoof (Paganism attributes). The image is derived from Classical mythology-Satyr.
Horns: connected with Paganism and an attribute for the Devil.
Beard: masculine, demonic also male maturity, divinity, and kingship
Globe: suggestive of earth
Fire: suggestive of Hell where it's claimed to be fire
Demonic features: suggestive of evil-pointed eyebrows, spooky eyes, beard,
Tail: Pagan attribute, suggestive of animal or Satyr.
No Halo: Not divine- a sinner
The only male figure of this suite that appears nude.

Temptation (Sinner with Serpent)
This figure seems to suggest innocence by her demeanor. She is nude as well.
No Halo: not divine-a sinner
Hand to Mouth: Contemplation or innocence
Snake: Serpent, a symbol of evil and biblical synonym for Satan. In Native American Culture it is a good sign for crop fertility and rain. The snake is also a symbol of prudence, and is connected with Aesclepius, Greek god of Medicine. It suggests rebirth and healing because it sheds its skin. It is an Ancient Egyptian symbol of eternity. In African belief it's connected with river deities because it's a water friendly animal and is related to female divination. Hindu people worship the snake for fertility and sexual energy. In China the snake has phallic connections, cleverness, and treachery. The Inca believe the snake is a representation of power. Greco-Roman believe the snake embodies the spirits of the dead. It's the 6th sign of the Chinese zodiac.

(From a TV show on History channel April 2010) The Sumerian creation story says the world was created in 7 days by Tiamot a snake goddess. Snake worship relates to Sumerian culture. A snake refers to gods of older religions transformed or the conquest of old gods..

Warrior Saint
Halo: Saint-divine power
Armor: Europe culture it symbolizes strength, courage, honor, protection, and righteousness. In China and Japan it's a symbol of warrior classes.
Beard: divinity, male maturity, and kingship also masculine and demonic
Hand to beard: contemplating, thinking
Globe: suggestive of earth

Mother and Child
Halo: Saints- two of them, divine power
Globe: suggestive of earth
Mother with Child: suggestive of the Virgin Mary and Christ; maternal divinity

In Christianity, Eve is associated with shame, lust, and corruption. She was created from Adams rib. The name Eve means mother of all living things. Eve is nude.
No halo: not divine-a sinner
Globe: suggestive of earth
Braided hair: hair of the courtesan or personification or profane love is braided.
Apple: temptation; a Pagan emblem of immorality; symbol of the fall of man; forbidden wisdom; associated with Eve who made Adam eat it and were thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
Pious Monk Saint of the Church
Halo: Saint-divine power
Globe: suggestive of earth
Clothing: Franciscan Style.
3 Knots in belt: represent the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
Praying hands: anjalimudra a Hindu and Christian a symbol of supplication and prayer
Sandals: purity, also dress of a Franciscan Monk

The Good Influence
Reminiscent of St. Joan of Arc.
Halo: Saint-divine power
Globe: suggestive of earth
Wings: supersensory, intellectuality, idealism, naivety, and pride; ability to fly and travel between human and otherworldly realms.
Sword: divine will, divine might, rightful vengeance and justice; power of king, honor, virtue, courage, courtesy
Clothed body: revealing tight body wear-able to maneuver quickly with no restraint-yet female body clearly evident.

Molly Barth copy:
Behind you are the Seven Saints and Sinners. Starting on the right are The Devil, or The Evil Influence. Look at the beady eyes and the smirky smile. Next is The Warrior Saint, slightly tipping his head toward Temptation, who is wondering should she? or shouldn't she? She holds a serpent in her hand. Then we have The Mother and Child, and Eve, holding the apple, and then, The Pious Monk, with his nose up in the air, and The Good Influence, on the other end. These were all cast in bronze for Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan. They were dedicated in 1976, in front of Kresge Library. When they were dedicated, the president of the university, said, "I know which one the students are going to pick out and say who that is." Another set of bronzes are outside the garden room at the Midland Center for the Arts. The figures are very elongated. They are similar, but totally different from each other. They are like the statuary on a gothic church in the niches on either side of the entrance to the church. The figures there of the Saints are very thin and elongated like these, but these have a whimsical character similar to that which you will notice in other works as we go along. You will also see that the very serious side of Fredericks.




Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998, “Seven Saints and Sinners, The Evil Influence [Plaster],” Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, accessed April 12, 2024,