An Allegory of the Triumph of Justice

WAG 1995.93


The full title of this group of allegorical figures is 'The Triumph of Justice, Truth/Time and Charity over Greed', with each personification holding his or her identifying attributes: Justice with her sword and weighing scales; Truth/Time with a radiant sun-disk and hour-glass; Charity with her children, and Greed his overflowing moneybag. Its date suggests that the drawing was designed by Heintz the Elder to celebrate the ennoblement in 1602 of himself and his brother, Daniel Heintz the Younger, by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1576 - 1612). The drawing is a study for an engraving by Lucas Kilian in Venice in 1603, giving it widespread visual influence. Kilian's engraving faithfully reproduces the image in the drawing, except for a few additions: the engraving shows the bottom part of the pedestal, whose front shows an inscription in Latin; Justice's weighing-scale also contains a Kerykeion, a short staff entwined by two serpents; and a top of a lance peaks out from near the feet of Greed and one of Charity's infants. Joseph Heintz the Elder was the most celebrated member of a Swiss dynasty of architects and sculptors. Heintz spent a number of years in Italy and became painter, architect and artistic adviser to Emperor Rudolf in Prague and Augsburg. He was known as an outstanding draughtsman.