The painting depicts the frequently employed late medieval theme of the "Wiles of Women". A woman charged with infidelity lays her hand in the jaws of the lion. She confesses only to have lain in the arms of her husband and the fool behind her. Because she is speaking the truth, the lion does not bite off her hand. The fool is, in fact, her disguised lover, but he is not taken seriously by any of the witnesses. The scene alludes to the Roman stone mask "bocca della veritá", which according to legend bites off the hand of every liar.


  • Title: The Fable of the Mouth of Truth
  • Creator: Lucas Cranach the Elder
  • Date Created: 1534
  • Location: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, permanent exhibition "Renaissance, Baroque, Enlightenment"
  • Physical Dimensions: H 75,5 cm x B 117,4 cm
  • Original Source: permanent loan of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen Munich
  • Rights: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg
  • Medium: Painting on beechwood
  • Art Movement: Renaissance
  • Artist Dates: 1472 - 1553

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