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03 February 2017

Lemon with Three Leaves (Separation of Powers)


Lemon with Three Leaves (Separation of Powers), oil on linen on panel, 5x6", 2017
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This painting is the first in my "separation of powers" series. If you're interested in the origin of separation of powers in government, Mitchell Langbert, associate professor of business at Brooklyn College, with a Ph.D. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, an MBA from UCLA and an AB from Sarah Lawrence College, writes about "Origins of the Three Branches of Government in the US Constitution" (2010). He begins by discussing the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, and then moves on to the fourth century BC writings of Aristotle:

"Aristotle was one of the most important advocates of freedom in the history of ideas. Unlike some of his Athenian contemporaries, he was not an abolitionist. However, he responds thoroughly to the communist ideas of his professor, Plato. He makes clear that it is fundamental to a state to have plurality and openness of exchange, and that excessive unity is deleterious. He begins Book IV, Chapter 13 of his Politics as follows:
'Having thus gained an appropriate basis of discussion we will proceed to speak of the points which follow next in order... All constitutions have three elements, concerning which the good lawgiver has to regard what is expedient for each constitution.  When they are well-ordered, the constitution is well-ordered, and as they differ from one another, constitutions differ. There is (1) one element which deliberates about public affairs; secondly (2) that concerned with the magistracies--the questions being, what they should be over what they should exercise authority, and what should be the mode of electing to them; and thirdly (3) that which has judicial power.'
Aristotle there refers to the three branches of government that correspond to the US Constitution, the deliberative or legislative; the magistracy or executive; and the judicial." [Keep reading]

If you enjoy this painting, you may also like to see my Still life of Three Lemons with Leaves (2016), Partially Peeled Lemon (present moment) (2015), Italian Lemon with Leaves (Italy 2012 painting #5), or a bunch of my paintings of lemons.

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