1862-1940 | Italian
Law and Strength
Signed “A. Zocchi” (base)
Powerful in composition and exceptional in execution, these bronzes by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Zocchi were designed especially for the Palace of Justice in Rome. Situated within the Palace is the highest court in Italy, the Supreme Court of Cassation. Wanting a sculptural program that would match the grandeur and magnitude of the Court itself, a few celebrated Italian artists were invited to submit designs for the building’s façade, and Zocchi was one of these artists given the opportunity. Eventually meant to be enlarged and executed in marble, Zocchi’s figural pair represents the concepts of Strength and Law, embodiments of the Court’s virtues.
Designed and built between 1888 and 1910, the Palace of Justice is a true testament to the supremacy of Rome in the Italian State. The building’s sculptural program, therefore, had to attest to the authority of the Court within. Thus, the Palace’s artistic planning commission held a competition to adorn the building’s façade in 1898. The pediment surmounting the entrance would feature a statue of Justice herself, in classical Roman style, with two supporting allegorical figures representing Strength and Law.
Zocchi’s interpretations of these ideas, presented here as bronze bozzetti, or sketches, depict a muscular figure draped in a lion’s skin, reminiscent of the mythological hero Hercules, and a man deep in thought, contemplating the written laws. The two men represent Strength and the authority of Law, respectively, thus offering a personification of the Court’s values. The sculptures’ solid and dynamic poses, presented in the classical Greco-Roman style, perfectly capture the dignity of the Palace of Justice.
Zocchi was held in high respect as a sculptor of public works, with monuments and fountains in cities across the world, including Rome, Bologna, Genoa, Sofia, Buenos Aires, Cairo and Haverhill, Massachusetts. Ultimately, the Palace’s artistic planning commission passed over Zocchi’s designs for those of Enrico Quattrini, whose marbles of Strength and Law are now situated within the façade’s pediment; however, Zocchi’s invitation to present to the Palace's committee is a testament to his reputation as a master sculptor. Zocchi’s bronzes are of impeccable quality, and these are likely the only of his preliminary sketches in existence.
Signed "A. Zocchi" and “Arnaldo Zocchi Artefice.” Law bears foundry mark for Fonderia Nelli, and Strength bears foundry mark for Fond Art Lagana Napoli.
Law: 22 3/8" wide x 14 1/2" deep x 22 5/8" high
Strength: 22 1/2" wide x 9 3/4" deep x 22 3/8" high