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When Law became Mobile: The Birth of the Haptic Gaze between Van Eyck's 'Man in a Red Turban' (1433) and da Messina's Male Portrait Series (1474-78)

When Law became Mobile: The Birth of the Haptic Gaze between Van Eyck's 'Man in a Red Turban' (1433) and da Messina's Male Portrait Series (1474-78) Thumbnail


Abstract

Starting from a reflection on Erving Goffman’s notion of strategic interaction, this contribution discusses a number of paintings, all completed between 1433 and 1478, to argue that the haptic gaze in painting probably emerged between those dates. The emergence of the haptic gaze, i.e. the gaze that touches and senses, inquires, inspects and surmises, announces the gradual crystallization of a burgher form of life in which responsiveness and an uneasy emotive mix of entrepreneurship and caution all come to subtly structure modes of social behaviour and interaction. This, to use other words, represents the birth of what one could call tactile modernity. In this emerging form of life law suddenly becomes mobile: it forms in and through responsive, tactile and tactical movements which, in turn, are constantly trying to sense law’s contours.

Acceptance Date Sep 16, 2016
Publication Date Mar 15, 2018
Journal Law and Humanities
Print ISSN 1752-1483
Publisher Routledge
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17521483.2018.1449727
Keywords strategic interaction, haptic gaze, burgher form of life, prophetic painting, Johannes Van Eyck, Antonello da Messina, tactical modernity, renaissance painting
Publisher URL http://doi.org/10.1080/17521483.2018.1449727

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