A period copy after Prud'hon's original canvas of 1808 now in the Louvre, Paris,1 in which a dead man lies sprawled across the foreground while blood seeps into the ground from a wound in his neck and his murderer flees with the victim's belongings in his arms. Above, Divine Vengeance, illuminating the way with a torch, and Justice, armed with sword and scales, pursue the criminal. Inspired by the Roman poet Horace's adage that 'retribution rarely fails to pursue the evil man,' Prud'hon conveyed the message that the course of justice is relentless if sometimes slow.
The Louvre's monumental painting was destined to hang behind the judges' bench in the criminal courtroom of the Palace of Justice in Paris. A second version is in the collection of the Musée de l'Hôtel Sandelin, Saint-Omer.2
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