Article Title

Justice Unrepresented


John Leubsdorf


One of the many wonderful features of Representing Justice is its exploration of the ambivalence of the traditional depiction of Justice. Justice's blindfold suggests both impartiality and moral or factual blindness; her sword cuts through obfuscations and complexities but also inflicts pain and death. Other contributions to this Issue develop further ambivalences: Bennett Capers considers whether Justice's blindness makes her color-blind; Peter Goodrich asks whether her blindfold obstructs her vision or rather makes it impossible for us to see her. Yet the ambivalence does not stop there.

Much that we would wish to incorporate in a portrait of Justice is missing from the familiar image of the Goddess with the Scales. True, leaving things out of a depiction can sharpen our perception of what remains. Yet it is also true that focusing on what has been omitted can help us move beyond what is familiar. As artists sometimes portray a figure by drawing the negative space around it, looking for what is absent from an image can clarify what is present.