Lippens, RLG (2018) 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). Law and Humanities, 11 (Winter). ISSN 1752-1491

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis in Law & Humanities, which will be available from
Uncontrolled Keywords: strategic interaction, haptic gaze, burgher form of life, prophetic painting, Johannes Van Eyck, Antonello da Messina, tactical modernity, renaissance painting
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2016 10:13
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2019 01:30

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