The J. Paul Getty Museum

Allegory of Justice

Object Details


Allegory of Justice


Georg Pencz (German, 1484/1485 - 1545)




Germany (Place Created)




Pen and brown ink over black chalk

Object Number:



19.2 × 14.9 cm (7 9/16 × 5 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

Artists usually illustrated the figure of Justice with attributes of a sword, representing her power, and scales, showing her sense of balance. Paying close attention to her lines and proportions, Georg Pencz drew a powerful female nude in profile. Prominent black chalk lines, diagonal and vertical, indicate his efforts to align various parts of her body. For example, she holds her right hand high to form a diagonal line with her face and right nipple.

At first glance, Justice seems to float against a background of fluffy clouds, emphasizing the unbroken silhouette of her form against the empty sky. Her toes, however, project slightly from the picture's bottom frame, as if her feet were firmly balanced on a beam. Pencz's sculptural hatching and cross-hatching suggest he made this design for a print, but no such example is known.

Central European Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (March 2 to May 9, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 2 to May 9, 1993
Figure Drawings (December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), December 17, 1996 to April 6, 1997
German and Swiss Drawings from the Permanent Collection (June 6 to August 20, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 6 to August 20, 2000
Renaissance Drawings from Germany and Switzerland, 1470-1600 (March 27 to June 17, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 27 to June 17, 2012