QUELLINUS, Artus I
(b. 1609, Antwerpen, d. 1668, Antwerpen)
The Judgment of Brutus: Justice1651-54
Terracotta, 73 x 83 cm
The terracotta relief shown in the picture is a design for the marble relief with the Judgment of Brutus, which was one of the three classical scenes of justice in the Tribunal in the Amsterdam Town Hall.
Lucius Junius Brutus, the Roman consul, is the central figure in the story. He was consul in Rome when a group of young Romans conspired against him. The plot was discovered and the conspirators, including Brutus's own sons, were sentenced to death.
The sculptor portrayed Brutus in a Roman tunic, while the executioner, as if he were a classical god, is naked. Brutus's gesture indicates to the executioner that the sentence can be carried out. The executioner stands ready to cut off the head of the kneeling youth. In front of the young man lies the head of the previous victim.
This cruel scene took place in Rome in the 6th century BC and stood as an example of justice and integrity for the 17th-century judges who pursued their calling in the Amsterdam Tribunal.