Grotius’ book chest, international law and material culture

  • Valentina Vadi Lancaster University Law School
Keywords: international law, material culture, paintings, temporary art, war


What is the relationship between international law and material culture? This article argues that both material cultural studies and international legal scholarship can (and have) benefit(ed) from dialogue and mutual learning, and that such interaction has gradually become more and more explicit. Nevertheless, a traditional reticence remains, at least among international lawyers, about the merits of using material cultural in the theory and practice of international law. Therefore, the article illustrates the promises and pitfalls of the use of material culture in international legal scholarship and highlights that the use of material culture is as risky as it is promising.