Architecture as an Allegory of Justice and Clemency

Brussels Manufactory (Workshop of Jan Leyniers)1660

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander

This tapestry belongs to a set of eight on The Arts and Sciences in the Colección Santander, which must in turn have been part of a larger group of which some are now missing. The different size of the individual tapestries is due to the fact that they were woven for specific locations, forming what was known in Brussels as a chambre en tapisserie.

In this panel a youth watches an old man lower a plumb line down a well. According to Ripa, the plumb line symbolises both geometry and architecture. In addition, it has been used to symbolise the way that justice is tempered by clemency. Within the context of a Liberal Art, this tapestry thus signifies the way that clemency should put limits on justice within human life, a lesson that the elderly man teaches the youth who accompanies him and to whom he transmits his experience.

All the tapestries in the set involve two themes: a moral one relating to the life of man, his virtues and vices, and an exaltation of the Arts, encompassing the Liberal Arts and the so-called Fine Arts.

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  • Title: Architecture as an Allegory of Justice and Clemency
  • Date Created: 1660
  • Location: Madrid, Spain
  • Workshop: Brussels Manufactory (Workshop of Jan Leyniers)
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w2010 x h4100 mm (Complete)
  • Type: Tapestry
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Wool and silk