NANNI DI BARTOLO
(active 1419-1435)

Judgment of Salomon

1424-38
Istrian stone, height 200 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

The Judgment of Salomon, the last of three corner reliefs on the Palazzo Ducale, faces S. Marco and surmounts the so-called Justice capital. The two earlier reliefs, probably by Venetian or Lombard sculptors, depict the Fall and Drunkenness of Noah.

The attribution of this group is debated. Cleaning has shown that the head of the true mother is carved separately and is a replacement. The high relief is carved from Istrian stone, a hard white limestone with fewer crystals than marble, favoured because of its compact durability and the relative ease with which it could be obtained from Venetian coastal cities. The subject can be interpreted as an example of divine justice, connected with the two earlier Genesis reliefs and the nearby Porta della Carta with its crowning figure of Justice. There are some echoes of antiquity, but the strongest influences are the works of Jacopo, Donatello, Ghibert and Nanni di Banco.