Sol Justitiae

Leading Dürer scholars understand this engraving to be inspired by this quote from Petrus Berchoius' Repertorium Morale, a biblical-moral texted intended for preachers: "The Sun and Righteousness shall appear ablaze when he will judge mankind on the day of doom, and he shall be burning and grim. For, as the sun burns herbs and flowers in the summertime when he is the Lion, so shall Christ appear as a fierce and lion-like man in the heat of judgment and shall wither the sinners." Dürer's engraving creatively combines pagan, astrological, and biblical symbols. The central figure sitting on a lion is at once Christ, the Roman goddess of Justice, and the ancient sun god, called Helios by the Greeks. The lion not only suggests biblical excerpts comparing Christ to a lion, but also Leo (the sign of the zodiac for July, when the sun is most intense).

Artist:  Albrecht Dürer


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