Allegory of Justice, Giorgio Vasari

Description of the picture:

Allegory of Justice – Giorgio Vasari. 1546
This canvas can be viewed for hours, so this very elaborate multi-figured composition is complicated, confused and filled with signs. In its center is a figure of a lady with a bare breast – a symbolic image of Themis, the goddess of justice, who has nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

This lady is dressed in a very unique outfit that has something in common with the attire of warriors – the highest sandals resemble leggings, the headdress is a lavishly decorated helmet, and chains come from the belt to which many figures are chained at the feet of Themis. These people trampled by her are punished criminals, men and women, languishing under the burden of their sins.

Themis is not only a symbol of justice, it is surrounded on all sides by complex, sometimes doubly interpreted symbols. With one hand she rests on a huge bird – an ostrich, a symbol of avoiding problems. In the same hand she holds a thin rod crowned with a golden figure of a lion – it is more like a scepter, a symbol of her power over all people. With the other hand, Themis crowns a young girl with doves in her hands – it can be a symbol of Innocence, an innocent victim, or triumphant Justice. (“Let a wreath be given to merit before the mirror of Themis …”, V. A. Zhukovsky, “Happiness”). At the same time, a pair of pigeons denotes marital fidelity and love.

The figure of a gray-bearded old man standing behind Themis is even more interesting. He has wings on his head, which means soul, vitality and supernatural wisdom. Well, the trinity of the ubiquitous “putti” complements this complex, but very interesting and unusual picture."

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