BON, Bartolomeo
(active 1421-1464 in Venice)

Judgment of Solomon

Istrian stone
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

The near life-sized Judgment of Solomon is at the corner of the Palazzo Ducale nearest St Mark's. It is set at an angle around the corner of the palace so as to be fully visible to anyone approaching the entrance from St Mark's. It depicts the story in which two women appeal to Solomon, each claiming to be the mother of a child. The king blandly orders a soldier to cut the baby in half and give one half to each woman, whereupon the true mother, aghast, relinquishes her claim in order to save the child's life. The drama is eloquently conveyed by the facial expressions of the main participants: Solomon appears impassive, befitting impartial justice; the true mother, horrified, as she leans forward to prevent the soldier from obeying the order; the imposter at the far right, dispassionate.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.