By Peter Worman
Last week we considered one of the tenets of good leadership being a sound moral and ethical base which would result in leaders, who possess a sound moral code of ethics, to act in a just and fair manner and would run their countries, cities, villages, or families accordingly.
There’s a revealing set of fresco’s that was painted back in the 14th century in the city of Sienna which were located in the main meeting room that the so-called Leaders of Nine sat to discuss matters of state. The fresco’s were painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti to allegorise firstly good governance which was painted on the front wall and on the right wall, the effects of good governance in the city and the country and on the left wall the effects of bad governance in the city and country.
These fresco’s were so sited so that when the leaders met they were graphically reminded on exactly what their duties were as leaders and the effects should they fail.
The primary character of the main fresco titled the Allegory of Good Governance, was Lady Justice situated to the left of the painting holding a set of scales in each hand. These scales were attended to by angels and her eyes are cast upward to another figure who personifies Wisdom. Lady Justice can be seen meting out justice, with the left hand giving rewards and the right hand punishments.
From the hand of the angels two thin ropes issue forth and move to a figure in a blue robe and this cord binds all the subsequent people shown who represent the various peoples of Sienna from all walks of life. This cord binds them together and keeps all the people in check justly and equally.
This cord is then passed up to another figure, the personification of good commune. This figure is surrounded by other figures like the virtues, fortitude, prudence, and justice. Primary to these figures is the personification of peace who can be seen reclining on a divan and her attitude is one of complete relaxation, she has even taken off her armour and put it under her seat. The imagery revealing that when justice is strong and working, peace has little to do or accomplish.
Next week we will look at the fresco on the right wall, the effects of good governance and this will give you time to look at a copy of the fresco we have just discussed. Once we’ve looked at the last fresco, we will try and ascertain how good leadership arises and how it is taught and we’ll try and discover the inner qualities that allow peace, justice and equality to hold firm.