Stramignoni on Images of Law

Igor Stramignoni, London School of Economics, Law Department, has published Images of Law. Here is the abstract.

In this essay, I offer some initial thoughts about what may be roughly called a visual history of law or, more precisely, a history of the visual in law. To put it simply, I am interested to turn to what may be generally called early modern “images of law” – broadly, constellations of artefacts to do with law – with the purpose of taking them seriously. What may those images suggest if taken on their own terms rather than as merely impassive historical evidence of the particular process of conceiving law intellectually or, alternatively, as codes for certain pre-existing messages to be subsequently decoded? In order to answer this question, I start from a particular and relatively little-known picture, moving on to a related literary tract, and then on again to a few of the more familiar early modern visual representations of justice. The point of this exercise is simply to highlight certain alternative ways of approaching artefacts to do with law that may add to those that may come more readily to mind – that is, as objects illustrating or demonstrating the long-standing process of modernisation and written rationalisation of law after the Middle Ages. On approaching those artefacts differently, we discover that they often resist our analyses or interpretations forcing us to engage with them in interesting ways.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.