(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

The Justice Wall

Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

The Justice wall in the Stanza della Segnatura includes a lunette containing three of the four Cardinal Virtues of Christianity (Fortitude, Prudence and Temperance). The fourth virtue, Justice, rules over earthly law from the roundel above (on the ceiling). Fortitude can be recognized by her attribute, the lion; Wisdom, who has two faces, by her mirror; and Temperance by the reins. Fortitude is holding an oak branch, a reference to the pope's family name, Rovere, meaning "oak."

The great systems for civic and canon law are extolled, exemplified by the two scenes at the sides, Justinian Receiving the Pandects, and Gregory IX Approving the Decretals. The figure of Gregory bears the features of Julius II looking imposingly august, but also worn and aged. The pontiff is enthroned in great splendour, with his triple tiara and heavily brocaded cape. As a potentate, he is buttressed by the members of his court, based on the likenesses of courtier-clerics.