Scales and Leaves by Dana Zaltzman

14th Annual ARC Salon (2019-2020)

Dana Zaltzman

Scales and Leaves


60 × 80 cm | 23 1/2 × 31 1/4 in

oil on panel

Dry leaves fill the glowing pan of the scales, being weighed against iron weights, as if challenging them with a combination of hope, innocence and despair.

The iconography of the ''scales of justice'' is rooted in egyptian art. The book of the dead describes how the heart of the deceased is weighed on scales: if the heart is lighter than a feather, the departed is awarded eternal life. Christian iconography depicts the archangel Gabriel weighing souls on judgment day, while medieval painters depicted personified justice as a blindfolded woman holding a sword and a scale.

I enjoyed painting the texture of the soft and frail leaves, beside the cold heavy iron weights. I felt the contrast in every brush stroke, while trying to translate it with paints.