Blindness Visible: Law, Time and Bruegel's Justice
Desmond Manderson, Law and the Visual (University of Toronto Press, 2018)
20 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2020
Date Written: July 2, 2018
Printed in 1559, Bruegel's 'Justicia' appears at first glance to be a spatial representation of law—a snapshot, a mis en scène. But it is essentially about time. Bruegel's image overlays three different perspectives on the hitherto unexplored relationship between time, responsibility, and legal authority, revealing the hidden anachronism of law. At the same time, law is shown not merely to be a concept or a symbolic form, but a physical practice engraved in the flesh of those who carry it out and suffer it. Justicia takes as its method art's anachronic discourse and power of embodiment; and presents as its thesis the role of anachronic discourse and corporeal experience to the law. These insights were pertinent to the situation of law in the sixteenth century, but they are of far broader significance than that.
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