Western Art No.6
Iconoclasm: Fight against / For Images
The Narthex Mosaic of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
The composition of the Narthex Mosaic of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul consists of a Christ enthroned, an emperor crouching in proskynisis at his feet, and the Virgin and an archangel in medallion frames. A number of scholars have identified the figure of the emperor as Leon VI, who was active in the late 9th/early 10th century. Based upon an analysis of the unique technical features of this panel, including the coating of the tesserae with pigments, the author surmises that the production of the mosaic took place not long after the recovery of the icon in 843, after the iconoclasm. As an important context to the execution of the Narthex Mosaic, the author considers the circumstances surrounding the recovery of the icon. Theodora, wife of the late Theophilus, the last iconoclastic emperor, testified at a congress that her husband had repented of his iconoclasm and thereby succeeded in exempting him from punishment. During the Byzantine era, the composition of the figures would have reminded spectators of Theophilus' repentance, the role of Theodora as an intercessor, as well as the innocence of Michael III, the infant emperor who followed Theophilus.
The Legend of a Jew
Beating the Image of Saint Nicholas
The legend of a Jew beating a pictorial or sculptural representation of Saint Nicholas with a rod for failing to protect his treasure, appears in many French stained glass windows of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries, at sites such as Chartres, Auxerre and Tours. These images abound in allusions to the popular Christian practice of humiliating saints, considered at that time by ecclesiastical authorities as a desecration of saints' images, and to the widespread topos of the image-destroying Jew. Based upon these allusions, the author interpets this iconographic theme as a visually polemical statement in defense of the Catholic faith and of Chiristian image-making and image worship, practices that at the time were criticized and whose status was uncertain.
Beautifully White Walls
This paper examines the relationship between iconoclasm and the Reformation
theory of the image. The first iconoclastic act of the Protestant Reformation
occurred at the parish church of Wittenberg in 1521. The Wittenberg
iconoclasm was motivated by the theology of the image developed by Karlstadt,
yet upon its completion and Luther's return to his hometown, however,
the movement can be said to have ended. Luther came to regard an image
in a church as preferable to a riot, eventually changing his attitude
toward church images and even eventually making effective use of them.
The Hidden God
During the Reformation movement of the 16th century, Northern Europe witnessed a debate concerning images and iconoclasm. In defense of images, the Council of Trent issued a decree in 1563, one which was later taken up and developed by theological writers such as Molanus, who was exceptionally knowledgeable about art. Catholic writers intended to deflect the attack on images in general by attempting to eliminate specific abuses concerning them. Almost all of the prohibitions they wanted to introduce, however, failed to work. This paper analyzes the reasons why such interdictions were ineffective, and at the same time attempts to provide a clearer definition of the status of images during the 16th century. Most interdictions, as the author explains in Durkheimian terms, are based primarily upon the necessity of separating the sacred from the profane. Both catholic and protestant theologians recognized the necessity of distinguishing the image from the prototype it represented. The author cites the examples of altered and mutilated prints, and illustrates the differences between the interdiction and iconoclasm. He further explains the difficulties of understanding the interdictions through the variability of the distinction between the sacred and the profane, the association the symbol generates from its use in other contexts, and so forth. Paintings by Aertsen and Bruegel provide further illustrations of these arguments.
Vandalism during the
During the French Revolution, many royal monuments and religious treasures were destroyed, mainly because they were perceived to be symbols of feudalism, prejudice and tyranny. The destruction of monuments and objects of art was denounced as "vandalism" by Gregoire at the National Convention in 1794. At the National Assembly, deputies discussed both the abolition of feudal signs and the preservation of fine art. The general tendency up until 1792 was to favor the preservation of art. Following the collapse of the monarchy on August 10th, 1792, however, the statues of Henry IV, Louis XIII, XIV, and XV all crashed to the ground. The decree of August 14th sanctioned the elimination of monuments of feudalism and the melting down of bronze monuments for the production of canons. Royal statues were in fact works of art produced by famous sculptors, but they were also symbolic embodiments of monarchy. Focusing on the destruction of statues of Bourbon kings in public places in Paris, this essay explores the debate concerning the figures of slaves located under the statue of the kings, the political meanings of the pedestal, and the reuse of materials for the memorialization of the Revolution. These monuments were not completely destroyed, and reused pedestals emphasized the replacement of old values with new ones.
On the Reception of Carl Einstein's Art of the Twentieth Century in Nazi Germany
Carl Einstein's book, Art of the Twentieth Century（Kunst des 20 Jahrhunderts）, published in 1926, represents one of the earliest attempts to describe the contemporary art movements of the first decades of the twentieth century. Einstein tried to describe them on the basis of his own artistic model, in which formative power that is able to change the Weltanschauung and present the upcoming model of art. It caused him to evaluate Cubism highly and criticize German Expressionism in acrid terms. This essay examines how Einstein's book was received in Nazi Germany and used by those who sought to attack modern art, tracing the peak of its influence to the Degenerate Art（Entartete Kunst）exhibition of 1937. It then attempts to sketch out the complicated art politics of that period and demonstrate how German Expressionism -- especially the Die Br<CODE NUM=00FC>cke artists and Emile Nolde, who originally intended to create a new German art -- came to be branded as degenerate.
Modern Art and Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm, generally known as a ban on the worship of
images during the Byzantine era, was revived not as a literally destructive
movement but as a symbolic act from the late 19th century onward. Many
artists and art critics claimed to be avant-garde, far ahead of the
bourgeoisie by refusing to accept established taste. In the 20th century,
the notion of "art" itself has become a target; questioning
the superiority of art works over commodities, iconoclastic attitudes
reveal a close relationship between destruction and creativity. As exemplified
in the case of Marcel Duchamp, often condemned as representative of
the decadence of contemporary art, and that of his followers and detractors
who, although attempting metaphorically to destroy his works, in fact
ultimately imitated him, Modernism in art has its own built-in rebelliousness
that only contributes to the perfection of its own principle: anti-traditionalism
in an iconoclastic attitude that itself becomes a new tradition. Modernism
can always be renewed by being self-destructive.
The Place of the image in Writing of St. Bernard adn Early Cistercians
French Art Historians
in Front of the Destruction of Art
Hans Belting, Bild
Richard I. Cohen,
Jewish Icons : Art and Society
in Modern Europe
Iconoslasme（Berne / Strasbourg, 2000-2001）