Black and White or Technicolor

Slaughter, Marty (2007) Black and White or Technicolor. Law and Critique, 18 (2). pp. 143-169. ISSN 0957-8536. (doi: (Full text available)

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This article traces the repression of signifying elements like color in the art of the late medieval period and coordinates it with the rise of text, sovereignty and legal order in the 16th century. It uses Deleuze’s notions of life and the virtual as a springboard for an analysis of the power of color in Giotto, Fra Angelico, Grunewald, Cranach and Holbein. It traces a trajectory from an art in the late Middle Ages that decodes and escapes judgment through a joyful use of color to a privileging of text (be it biblical or legal), repression of color and its reterritorialization in classical representation, a despotic regime of signs – seen quite literally in the portrait of the imperial and despotic monarch, Henry VIII. This trajectory in art is linked to an analogous movement: the imposition and extension of sovereignty and the legal system as well as the colonization of social life by law in the formative period of the nation state. The challenge is to create a world of technicolor, to actualize the color of living and the living of color. Without it, there is only law, in black and white.

Item Type: Article
Additional information: The original publication is available at
Uncontrolled keywords: color, Deleuze, legal order, Middle Ages, painting, Reformation, sovereignty
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Law School
Depositing User: C.A.R. Kennedy
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:45 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2011 23:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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