Monday, April 6, 2009


Iconoclasm is a term used to describe the destruction of holy icons or pictures of Christ, the Virgin, or the Saints. It was known as “image-breaking”. Iconoclasm occurred between 726 and 843. A good example of an icon is shown on page 260, figure 9-16 of Gardner's Art through the Ages of the Virgin and Child between Saints Theodore and George. The misunderstanding between icon veneration and idol worship led to the destruction or censorship of every image that was sacred. It was written in the bible that you should not worship or pray to any image painted in likeness with anything holy. One example of iconoclasm is a memorial column of marble, Apotheosis of Antoninus Pius and Faustina in Rome, Italy. The image of the sculpture is shown on page 205, figure 7-57. This column depicts several elegant figures that are of perfect proportion, the one of interest is the figure in the center. The figure was once portrayed nude, but now is shown with a leaf covering the nudity. This addition of the leaf was recently added by the church. The church didn’t like the fact that the piece had nude figures on it. This is an example of censorship within the church. The church didn’t want viewers to feel uncomfortable or to be exposed to this type of nude art. Iconoclasm caused a halt on the creation of holy iconic art. Eventually, the “image-making” resumed and people began creating these images once again. Iconoclasm still occurs today in some aspects of art.

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