Rare Books Blog

September 24, 2011

 

    • Judith Resnik & Dennis Curtis, Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). “By mapping the remarkable run of the icon of Justice, a woman with scales and sword, and by tracing the development of public spaces dedicated to justice—courthouses—the authors explore the evolution of adjudication into its modern form as well as the intimate relationship between the courts and democracy.” In addition, the Representing Justice page, in the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Document Collection Center,  brings together image collections, articles, and videos relating to the book.

       
    • Fondo Antico - Immagini della Giustizia, a website prepared by the library of the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, is a well organized and thorough examination of how the image of Justice is employed in early printed books. It includes a lengthy bibliography.

       
    • The Digital Collections page of the Rechtshistorie website includes annotated lists of useful links under the headings “Databases for legal iconography” and “Thematic image collections”.

       
    • Rechtshistorie’s editor, Otto Vervaart, also writes a companion blog, Rechtsgeschiedenis. He has written several thoughtful and informative posts on the topic of legal iconography, dealing with their importance for legal history and the challenges in locating online resources. See, for example, “The face of justice” (Dec. 19, 2010) and click the Legal iconography tag to see the others.

       
    • Justitia: Iconography of Justice is a Flickr gallery that as of September 2011 contained 133 images of Justice taken from volumes in the Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library. See also the related gallery, Justitia - headpieces. Headpieces are ornaments used as decoration at the head of a chapter or division of a book.

       

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

       

       

      September 24, 2011

      Thanks to the following individuals and institutions for their assistance in preparing this exhibit:

      Kathryn James
      Curator for Early Modern Books and Manuscripts,
      Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

      Nicholas Salazar
      Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Yale University

      Shana Jackson
      Lillian Goldman Law Library

      Drew Adan
      Lillian Goldman Law Library

      Image:Frontispiece from Maximae juris celebriores, deductae ex jure canonico, civili, glossa (Tyrnaviae: Typis Academicis, S. Jesu, 1742). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

      September 24, 2011

      Dumont, Jean. Corps universel diplomatique du droit des gens (8 vols.; Amsterdam: P. Brunel [etc.], 1726-31), vol 1. Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      Jean Dumont’s Corps universel diplomatique du droit des gens (The Universal Diplomacy of the Laws of Men) is a compilation of European treaties beginning in the time of Charlemagne in the tenth century. The engraved frontispiece, entitled “Traitez de Paix” (Peace Treaties), is by Bernard Picart (1673-1733), who was considered a “magnificent engraver.” In the background, the Virtues Justice and Peace (both clear-eyed half-naked women) embrace. They are seated on a pedestal and surrounded by other Virtues, all labeled and including Fortitude, Wisdom, Natural Law, and Truth.

      The French text below the engraving explains that the two male figures at the center are kings “swearing an alliance” that is confirmed through a handshake above a chalice-shaped urn in which a fire burns. Each of the men bears a palm, symbolizing peace, and ministers and counselors surround each. At the bottom, War is enchaining Ambition, Discord, Fraud, and Impiety. At the top of the frame, the eye of Providence looks down from thundering clouds from which harpies emerge.

      The picture of two persons clasping hands over a fire occurs often in diplomatic imagery of this era and signifies “bona fides” (good faith) or “pacta sunt servanda” (promises must be kept). The depiction’s iconic weight resulted in variations being used in seventeenth-century wedding poems, with husband and wife clasping hands to symbolize their union.

      A simplified version of the Picart image made its way into the logo of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, established in 1907 at the Hague. A facsimile of the logo used by the Court until 2007 shows the artistic borrowing.

       

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

       

      September 24, 2011

      A clear-sighted Justice is at the center of the frontispiece to a 1788 German edition of Cesare Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishment, first published in 1764. Beccaria was an eighteenth-century Italian jurist, philosopher, and politician. His well-known treatise, condemning torture and the death penalty, remains a foundation for theories of punishment. Beccaria’s premises of reason, utility, and deterrence resulted in his rejection of executions.

      Depicted is a Justice turning her eyes away, with scales, entangled with tools used in farming and industry, dangling by her side. She refuses the offering of a severed head by an executioner. Her posture enacts the position adopted today by those seeking to abolish the death penalty. The illustration was based on a sketch drawn by Beccaria himself.

      Beccaria, Cesare. Von Verbrechen und Strafen (Breslau: Johann Friedrich Korn, 1788). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

      September 24, 2011

      The engraved title page of Bernard van Zutphen’s Practycke der nederlansche rechten van de daghelijcksche soo civile als criminele (Dutch Law and Practice in Civil and Criminal Matters) depicts a crowded and lively courtroom scene. At the center, the presiding jurist is seated behind a table and beneath a small statue of Justice, who holds scales and a sword; her thin blindfold is dimly visible. The densely populated courtroom, with seats filled by men, includes some spectators focusing on the court proceedings and others chatting – with dogs at their feet.

      With minor variations, this same image can be found in several other volumes of that era, all illustrating how seventeenth-century town halls served as public gathering places, and court proceedings were ordinary events.

      Zutphen, Bernhard van. Practycke der nederlansche rechten van de daghelijcksche soo civile als criminele questien (Leeuwarden: G. Sijbes, 1655). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

      September 24, 2011

      By the sixteenth century, the blindfold had come to be seen as a potentially positive constraint on earthly Justice, seen to be at risk of corruption or of misplaced passion. But Justices without blindfolds remained commonplace, as seen in the 1669 edition of the Republic of Genoa’s criminal statutes. The engraving is by Giuseppe Maria Testana (d. 1679), a printmaker and engraver whose works included allegorical images and portraits of popes, cardinals, and other public figures.

      Genoa (Republic). Criminalium iurium serenissimae reipublicae Genuensis, libri duo (Genoa: Giovanni Battista Tiboldi, 1669). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

      September 24, 2011

      A rare and intriguing portrayal of a two-faced Justice, titled “A Portrait of Worldly Justice,” comes from a popular sixteenth-century guide to civil procedure by the Flemish jurist Joost de Damhoudere. One face is sighted and the other has blindfolded eyes. The face of the sighted Justice looks toward her large sword, held upright in her right hand, while the face of the blindfolded Justice turns toward tipped scales in her left hand.

      The sighted face has the well-to-do on its side, while the blindfolded face is turned toward the side with more needy-looking individuals, children included. Those on the sighted side of Justice personify largely negative qualities, such as the two labeled Argentum (Money) and Favor (Favor). Blindfolded Justice faces figures labeled Despectus (Contempt), Miseria (Misery), and Paupertas (Poverty). The legend below suggests the children (one of whom is disabled) are Innocentia (Innocence) and Veritas (Truth).

      This imagery is accompanied by more than a dozen explanatory pages, beginning with a quote from Cicero: “Justice is the virtue, by which is granted to each what is his own.” Through this mélange of images and text, Damhoudere detailed his views on both divine and human justice. He explained that many turn to Justice, who is “repeatedly blind and deaf” to just causes.” Justice is “two-faced” – acting in a manner that appears even-handed but dissembling. Where she is “bound by a blindfold,” her eyes are shut to “clemency.” But the text has some ambiguity, for Damhoudere also commented that a “two-faced” Justice signified that she must “attend to each of the parties equally.”

      Damhoudere, Joost de. Practique iudiciaire et causes civiles (Antwerp: Iean Bellere, 1572). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      Damhoudere, Joost de. Practycke in civile sacken (Rotterdam: Pieter van Waesberghe, 1660). Lillian Goldman Law Library.

      “The Remarkable Run of a Political Icon: Justice as a Sign of the Law” is curated by Judith Resnik, Dennis Curtis, Allison Tait, and Mike Widener, and is on display Sept. 19-Dec. 16, 2011, in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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