In Tabula Picta Marta Madero turns to the extensive glosses and com­men­taries that medieval jurists ded­i­cated to the above ques­tions when artic­u­lating a notion of intel­lectual and artistic property rad­i­cally dif­ferent from our own. The most important goal for these legal thinkers, Madero argues, was to situate things—whatever they might be—within a logical framework that would allow for their description, cat­e­go­rization, and placement within a proper hier­ar­chical order. Only juridical rea­soning, they claimed, was capable of sorting out the indi­vidual ele­ments that nature or human art had brought together in a single unit; by estab­lishing sets of dis­tinc­tions and tax­onomies worthy of Borges, legal dis­course sought to demon­strate that behind the deceptive imme­diacy of things, lie the con­cepts and argu­ments of what one might call the arti­fices of the concrete.”

Along with Madero’s intro­duction, we will be reading texts regarding ques­tions of property and use, right to pos­session, intel­lectual property, tech­nical aspects of the tabula picta, and ana­lytical / rhetorical rea­soning regarding mar­ginal writing about the tabula picta.