ABOUT THE JOURNAL
‘LawArt. Rivista di Diritto, Arte, Storia / Journal of Law, Art and History’ is an editorial project that stems from legal history and aspires to interdisciplinary dialogue. This is something legal history has always been involved in given the open epistemological standpoint which, constitutively, characterizes this discipline. However, the areas in which this dialogue can be exercised change over time; currently, in view of the need for interaction with the other legal sciences, one of the most fruitful terrains, this is precisely the forum that this journal intends to establish. Published online open access, LawArt aims to encourage a discussion among scholars involved in the various aspects of the relationship between law, art and history. The aim is to capture the different ways in which art shapes, expresses and narrates both the abstract and historically contextualized legal dimensions. In addition to the convergence of law with literature in history, therefore, the fruitful intersections with the visual arts, cinema, music, theatre, new media and emerging forms of expression, will also be of interest to this journal. At the same time, LawArt also intends to cover legal issues related to both international and domestic regulation, trade and protection of artworks and cultural heritage.
The journal sets out to encompass all relevant legal frameworks concerning the historical and aesthetic dimension of artworks and their economic value, including, ownership, intellectual property, authenticity, free movement, and other issues of private and business law, as well as international, administrative and criminal law. Indeed, the main objective is to promote the study of the link between law, art and history, beyond disciplinary and national boundaries in order to open up the view on this topic. The annual issue of LawArt will be divided into three sections. The first, Overtures, is conceived as a miscellaneous section for exploring new facets of the law/art prism. The second section, Itineraries, is monographic and intends to propose pathways within thematic areas characterized by a relative homogeneity, in order to identify (formal, substantial, methodological) areas of convergence in the field of legal and art studies. The third section, Colloquia, is intended as a place of interaction, in which to publish studies on research trends and perspectives, bibliographic reviews, interviews, project presentations, including news and reports on scientific and cultural events.
ABOUT THE FIRST ISSUE
The issue we are now presenting in the miscellany section offers three essays that open up the study of the relationship between law and art from original perspectives: the development of engraving in 18th century Spain and its relationship with the imagination of power (Carlos Petit); law as literature, encompassing the “representation” of nature and the “construction” of an aesthetic of truth in 19th century French legal thought (Nader Hakim); judiciary stories, the jury, the problem of communication and the time taken to come to a court decision in the narrative of investigations, based on the movie 12 Angry Men by Sidney Lumet (Mario Barenghi).
The monographic section Itineraries, covered for this first issue by the journal’s editors, is dedicated to the theme of “Performative Practices”. The proposed itinerary, inspired by the line of studies on law and narration, revolves around the idea of reflecting on the discursive function that legal knowledge and artistic expression share. This alludes to the capacity of these products of knowledge – especially in their interweaving – not only to express a representation of society and of human vicissitudes, but also to put them in perspective.
The essays published here address different aspects. Three of them insist on the performative value of the cultural event in relation to the legal problem. Giovanni Chiodi’s essay reconstructs the perspective of meaning which, in the difficult 1920s and 1930s, up until after the Second World War, guided Arturo Toscanini’s decisions regarding what was performed at his concerts and the venues for staging them. This highlights the close relationship that, in his life experience, is established between artistic commitment and the struggle for human rights and freedom; moreover, the link between the artistic dimension and the constitutional structure of society, at the service of a strong conception of democracy, is stressed.
Elisabetta Fusar Poli’s essay also deals with the emergence of a problem of freedom, in this case the “freedom of art” in Italy between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This essay focuses, however, on a different performative space, that represented by the field of tension between case-law on the protection of public morality and artistic expression. Whereas Giacomo Pace Gravina shifts attention to the productiveness of the link between art history and legal history, reconstructing, with an efficacious integrated approach, the events surrounding the painting of the Triptych by Meyer Ross, conserved in the Cathedral of Sora, Italy, in which the jurist Vincenzo Simoncelli is portrayed.
The performativity of literary discourse in relation to the legal dimension is then discussed in the two methodological essays that close the section Itineraries. Massimo Meccarelli considers the value of literature as a source for legal history. His reading of two novels that narrate the impermanence of transition, provides a closer look at the attributive effect that the temporal condition produces on the contents of the legal system. This makes it possible, in particular, to rediscover some dynamics of the objectivation of law and their importance for a more comprehensive understanding of its historicity.
Cristiano Paixão, on the other hand, ponders the possible role of literature in legal education. In imagining the literature taught in the Schools of Law, the essay highlights how it can contribute to forging legal knowledge as critical knowledge by promoting a recovery of the authentic dimension of contemporary law beyond its formal crystallizations and identifying an index of the problems that challenge it.
Two contributions are included in the section Colloquia. A retrospective by André Karam Trindade on the importance of José Calvo Gonzales regarding the establishment of a literary culture of law in Brazil. Gonzales was the leading figure of the law and literature movement in Spain who died prematurely in recent months. The journal closes with a conversation with Alberto Sciumè on the results of a recent conference dedicated to Gabriele D’Annunzio in the unusual role of “legislator” and “constituent father”, involved in the drafting of the Carta del Carnaro; a significant, but perhaps still too little considered event in the constitutional history of the twentieth century.
These elements make up the first proposal for discussion on law, art and history, which LawArt offers to the attention of its readers. With this, we are undertaking an endeavour whose scope can already be intuited even at this early stage.