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The show

From September 16, 2022 to January 8, 2023 the Estensi Galleries present the exhibition “ La dea bendata sees us very well. Malagiustizia of the old regime under the lens of the union ". The exhibition takes its cue from a singular marble artefact preserved in the deposits of the Estense Gallery : an ancient relief carved in marble with the allegorical figure of Justice, which, as its inscription states, invites citizens to report to the sovereign, secretly, episodes of that which today we would call malagiustice. The marble relief is a complaint hole decorated with the Este eagle, dating back to the second half of the 17th century.

Thanks to a happy collaboration with prof. Elio Tavilla, full professor of medieval and modern law history at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, the work will be exhibited to the public for the first time in a context also open to the historical-legal theme of (bad) justice and of the "union" in the old regime. Together with printed volumes, also on loan from the same University, and an emblematic painting by Palma the Younger, Allegory of Justice and Peace, we will be accompanied in a digression towards a distant world, and therefore capable of making us reflect on our own too.


Curated by Elio Tavilla and Federico Fischetti, the exhibition opens concurrently with the XXII Philosophy Festival of Modena, Carpi and Sassuolo, which takes place from 16 to 18 September and has justice as its theme this year.

We are in the second half of the seventeenth century, when the Este dukedom was led by the regent Laura Martinozzi (1662-1674) and then by her son, Duke Francesco II d'Este (1674-1694). At the time, the corruption of officials was an endemic problem: in particular in the case of judges, framed in a non-centralized system, very different from today's one, in which, for example, it was expected that they would earn a percentage on each case, instead of having one salary. The tendency to centralize powers in the figure of the sovereign, a typical phenomenon of the time, affected the field of justice through multiple instruments of control.

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Largo Porta Sant'Agostino, 337
41121 Modena

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