Will the truth be laid bare?“Truth Unveiled by Time” is a marble sculpture in the Borghese Gallery of Rome. It is a Baroque period piece by Italian artist and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It depicts a naked young woman being unveiled by a figure of Time above her. She symbolizes Veritas, the goddess of truth in Greek-Roman mythology.
But Bernini never completed the figure of Time, as his patron died before its execution. If he had completed it, art historians believe that Chronos, the personification of Time, would have been added as the figure lifting the veil.
Bernini reportedly created this sculpture because of the criticism he faced from his competitors when he participated in building St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. He reportedly wanted to express his belief through the form of art that truth that the criticism was just slander will eventually be laid bare.
In Western paintings, an image of Chronos saving Veritas is often depicted. It is an expression of the belief that time - or history - will unveil the truth. But time does not uncover a lie or reveal innocence as often as we anticipate. In fact, pursuing the truth often becomes even more difficult as time passes by due to fading and distorted memories and complicated interests.
The National Assembly’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday for Park Sang-ok, a former prosecutor nominated as a Supreme Court justice, was largely focused on whether or not he had been aware of the police cover-up in the investigation of the torture and death of student activist Park Jong-chul.
The lawmakers of the ruling party and their witnesses tried to support Park’s position that he had not known about the cover-up. Opposition lawmakers and their witnesses claimed that there was no way for him to not know.
After a day-long dispute, no conclusion was reached. Twenty-eight years after the incident could not prove his innocence or the arguments of his critics.
“Prosecutor Park Sang-ok generally stood by the truth or tried to do so,” said Rep. Kim Hoe-sun of the Saenuri Party, who was a senior of Park when he served as a prosecutor. He was borrowing the idea from a recent media interview by 54-year-old Park Jong-un, a friend of the late Park Jong-chul.
In the interview, the friend of the late activist said, “I don’t think [the prosecutors at the time] stood by the truth 100 percent.”
Now, Park Sang-ok will likely become a Supreme Court justice, unless there is crucial change. I hope he will pass the test of time once the truth is unveiled.
*The author is a deputy national news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 9, Page 31
By LEE SANG-EON