Born into a family of artists, Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 - 1766) was a French painter who originally aspired to be a history painter. The financial collapse of 1720 all but ruined Nattier who found himself forced to devote his whole energy to portraiture, which was a more lucrative artistic pursuit.
He became renowned for his allegorical portraits of the Ladies of King Louis XV's court depicted as Greco-Roman Goddesses, or as other mythological figures. His graceful and charming portraits of court Ladies in allegorical fancy dress - or undress - were very fashionable, partly because he could beautify a sitter while also retaining her likeness. The pastel-like delicacy of his idealized images of Women as Goddesses led to the accusation that he ‘painted with make-up’.
This painting, Allegory of Justice Combatting Injustice (1737), portraying a righteous classical Lady vanquishing a male guilty of wrongdoing with her raised claw-like wooden implement, is one of Nattier's most important royal commissions, and an impressive rare surviving example of his work in a vein other than portraiture. It was commissioned by Jean-Philippe d'Orléans, Grand Master or Grand Prieur of the Knights of the Order of Malta in France for the decoration of his Parisian residence, the Palais du Temple.