Jan 24, 2012

The Calumny of Apelles

The Calumny of Apelles


Giorgio Ghisi

(Italian, 1520–1582)

after Luca Penni

(Italian, 1500/04–1557)


Sheet: 37.3 x 32.3 cm (14 11/16 x 12 11/16 in.); Platemark: 36.9 x 31.9 cm (14 1/2 x 12 9/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2012.8

Catalogue raisonné: Lewis & Lewis 27

State: III/VI



This allegory of injustice, popular with Renaissance artists for its moral content, is based on a written description of a lost painting by the ancient Greek artist Apelles. An enthroned judge with large ears is flanked by Suspicion and blindfolded Ignorance. He extends a hand to Calumny (Slander), who, helped by Envy, drags a young man by the hair into court. This youth protests his innocence to Truth and Time, who descend on a cloud to reveal Calumny’s lies and vindicate the accused. Deceit stands behind Calumny with a large net, while Repentance casts an apologetic glance toward Truth from beside the window.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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