European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Allegory of Justice with the Coat of Arms of Anthoni Wyss (1531-1588)Made in Bern, Switzerland, Europe
Attributed to Joseph Gösler?, Swiss (active Bern), active 1540 - 1585
Stained glass, painted and leaded; yellow glass at upper left modern replacement
2005-49-1Purchased with the Walter E. Stait Fund, 2005
LabelBearing the coat of arms and name of a city councilor of Bern, Switzerland, this panel shows two kings lying at the feet of a blindfolded female figure, who represents Justice. Perhaps this scene is a moralizing reminder that everyone, even a king, is accountable to divine Justice. Alternatively, it could relate to the political and religious conflicts of the time. The fleur-de-lis on the royal scepter on the right, traditionally a symbol of the French monarchy, and the addition of a pope in a similar stained-glass panel donated by Wyss to a church a few years later, suggest that the image represents the punishment of Catholic authorities for their persecution of the Reformed Church. Such polemic views were customary in Bern, where the Reformation was introduced in 1528.
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