Artist: Albrecht Durer
Title: Sol Justitiae
Dimensions: 4.25" x 3"
The literary source of this print- also known as “The Judge”—is Petrus Berchorius’ Repertorium Morale, issued by Durer’s godfather Anton Koberger at Nuremberg in 1480 and 1499. In this work, Christ was placed in an equal position to the sun:
The son of Righteousness shall appear ablaze when he will judge mankind on the day of doom and he shall be burning in grim. For as the sun burns herbs and flowers in summertime when he is in the Lion, so Christ shall appear as a fierce and lion-like man in the heat of judgment and shall wither the sinners.
The subject of “Sol Justitiae” was appropriate for the 1499’s. Many people were expecting the end of the world or the last judgment to occur at the end of the century. Astrologers predicted a new deluge, and many families moved to higher ground or into upper stories dwellings. Durer has dispensed with the partial effect of a landscape for a backdrop to the figure. Christ sitting in judgment on the lion’s back takes up the whole picture area. The lion reveals the artist’s solid study of nature.