Allegory of Justice, 1792
Height: 24 in;30 in
Width: 18 in;24 in
A woman in a green and red robe sitting on a rock. In her right hand is a sword and in her left hand are a set of scales. She rests her foot on a head. Off to the right is a small plant growing on the rock.
Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues. The English word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, which means "hinge." All other virtues hinge on these four: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Plato first discussed the cardinal virtues in the Republic, and they entered into Christian teaching by way of Plato's disciple Aristotle. Unlike the theological virtues, which are the gifts of God through grace, the four cardinal virtues can be practiced by anyone; thus, they represent the foundation of natural morality.