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Lady Justice May 2, 2009

Posted by Beth in Art.
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Statue of Justice from St. Loius Univeristy School of Law

Statue of Justice from St. Louis University School of Law

I came across this bronze when looking for an image to accompany a post on my poly-econ site. I love it so much that I wanted to share it with those of you who just visit me here. What thrills me is the strength and energy the sculptor portrays. Most if the time,  Lady Justice is a calm, passive figure who presents the scales as the center of attention. If present, the sword is draped at her side, ready at hand, but held relaxed and in reserve—just in case. This image reminds me that justice is an active force, not just a passive judgment. To be of real value, one must judge and then act on that judgment. Judge, and prepare to be judged.

Justice is the identification of vice and virtue, and then acting in concert with that identification–with admiration and praise of the good equal in importance to condemnation of evil.  The more important the principle at stake, the more vigorous one must be in it’s identification and defense.

My logo for Aisa Academy is the Scales of Justice, one pan labelled “fact,” the other “value,” accomapnied by the motto “Ideas Matter.” I am realizing now that the statue above is more complete. The scales represent the judgment, the blindfold represents impartiality, but the sword represents the follow through, the action required to implement one’s impartial judgment.  All three are essential and so elegantly captured above.

Addendum 5-28-09: LB located the artist, James Muir, for me . Thanks! The official title fo the work is “…and Jusice for All.”  See the comments to this post for more info on the piece.

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Comments»

1. Lynne - May 3, 2009

This statue is a terrific interpretation of Lady Justice as is your assessment of justice as an active force. It kind of fires me up.

2. Lynne - May 28, 2009

I believe the artist is James Muir.

3. Beth - May 28, 2009

Oh, what a gift! Thank you. How did you find it?

4. Lynne - May 28, 2009

Oddly, I search for “Lady Justice” +scultpture +Chicago(because I remembered the city incorrectly). On Alta Vists it came up second and the line showed said “wielding the sword of truth”. I followed it from there.

5. Beth - May 28, 2009

The sculptor, James Muir, is a man of mixed premises. He has done some amazing works of art, and I love his concept of “Allegorical Art.” From his webpage:

“Allegorical Art” is a term James Muir uses to describe his work, which is filled with symbology to help create a heightened social, political and spiritual awareness. “The allegorical symbolism in my sculptures bridges the centuries of history to make contemporary statements about the human condition, in order to exemplify the highest qualities of man. My work speaks of Duty, Honor, Courage, Liberty and Justice, but above all, it speaks of Truth and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit”.

But because of his philosophical grounding in the mysticism and altruism of Christianity, his explanations of the symbols and concepts have some serious flaws. In spite of that, there were some things he had to day about Lady Justice that I liked:

“The Lady of Justice, normally passive and trusting in the legal system, in her outrage has become the warrior fighting to prevent further transgression, if not her complete demise. Originally blind-folded to prevent undue influence, her “blindness” has allowed her to be violated by the very people sworn to be her guardians.

Rising as the naked truth out of the shroud of illusion, she brandishes the Sword of Justice. Although the twelve inches of the point are nicked and scarred from the battering and subjugation of our jury system at the hands of Power, the remaining twenty-four inches of Truth remain unblemished. Elusive and hidden as the pearl within its shell, Truth cannot be bought and sold, only temporarily obfuscated by falsehood. Yet all falsehood and illusion will themselves ultimately be crucified upon the cross of the omnipotent Sword of Truth when it pierces the heart in purification…

The steps of the courthouse, the very halls of Justice, have been eroded and chipped away at by would-be usurpers. The 12-inch foundation steps represents the ideals of trial by a jury of peers, while the 9-inch upper step symbolizes the nine Supreme Court Justices of the highest court in the land. The sanctity of both vital institutions is in serious danger of crumbling along with the efficacy of the entire judicial process without a resounding response to the cries of alarm.

Guardians of Justice, see her plight and hear her pleas; take up the weapons of Law to come to her defense. Stand by her side in mortal combat against the forces aligned against her, or perish in the struggle. Forget not your oaths to Justice.”

6. Rachel - July 25, 2009

Hey, I just wanted to thank you for making this blog post. Seriously, you never know when some little thing you do will end up affecting someone’s life.

I saw this statue of Justice in a gallery in Santa Fe in either 1996 or 1997, and to date it’s the only work of sculpture that’s ever moved me quite so deeply (I cried). I never forgot it. I looked for it a few years later but failed to find it, and gave up… until earlier this week when I tried a Google Image Search and found this blog post.

So, thanks to you, I’ve found a work of art I’ve been interested in for a long, long time. I’ve written the artist about the possibility of buying one of the 21″ editions of the work… yes, for $6000 I’m probably completely crazy for even considering it, but I love it. Maybe even that much.

The statue on the artist’s site:

http://www.jamesmuir.com/and-justice-for-all-sculpture-maquette.html

7. Beth - July 25, 2009

Rachael,
I am glad I was able to help you find Lady Justice. I too have considered purchasing on of the 21″ copies, but at this point in time I have to wait for the economy (and my savings) to recover.
You may want to check out how I incorporated the statue in a work of my own —see my post “First Encaustic” from 7/13/09.

I clicked over to your blog (–always fun to know who it is that is moved by the same art as I am.) How fantastic that you know Randall Munroe, author of xkcd which I also love. I really enjoyed your photos of “counter balancing.” Neat achievement!!

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Let me know if you do purchase the miniature and what your reaction is when you get it!!

8. Anonymous - May 29, 2012

Is this a stick photo that we may use?

Beth - May 29, 2012

No

9. Melvin - September 18, 2016

I looked upon it every day on may way to class. SLU Law, Class of “04”


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