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  • The Blindness of Justice: An Iconographic Dialogue between Art and Law

    Marcílio Franca

    Chapter from the book: Pavoni, A et al. 2018. SEE.


    This essay seeks to listen to the ‘muta eloquentia’ of visual arts, in a very specific field, namely, the plastic discourse concerning the eyes, the blindness and the blindfold of justice – ‘the most enigmatic feature of justice’ – throughout the previous centuries of western art history. Why, over the centuries, has the goddess of justice been so often depicted with eyes open, with eyes closed, with blindfolds, without blindfolds … ? What does that mean? What is the reason for these changes? These are the central issues of this chapter. Images shape powers, knowledge and invisible arguments, making present all which is many times absent – above all, in those historical times when printed language was still not available to diffuse ideas. Therefore, the immediate objective of this text is to better understand law and better understand the art that speaks of law. In analysing the pictorial narrative about blindness in the representations of justice, the text searches, escaping from traditional legal nomocentrism to unveil some conceptions of justice, political power and state and, thus, contribute to a deeper understanding of the legal phenomenon.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Franca, M. 2018. The Blindness of Justice: An Iconographic Dialogue between Art and Law. In: Pavoni, A et al (eds.), SEE. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book12.f

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    Published on Feb. 22, 2018