1st Edition

Striking Images, Iconoclasms Past and Present

ISBN 9781138547537
Published April 24, 2018 by Routledge
260 Pages

USD $52.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

All cultures make, and break, images. Striking Images, Iconoclasms Past and Present explores how and why people have made and modified images and other cultural material from pre-history into the 21st century. With its impressive chronological sweep and disciplinary breadth, this is the first book about iconoclasm (the breaking of images) and the transformation of broader sets of signs that includes contributions from archaeologists, curators, and museum conservators as well as historians of art, literature and religious studies. The chapters examine themes critical to the study of iconoclasm: violence, punishment, memory, intentionality, ruins and relics and their survival. The conclusion shows how cross-disciplinary debate amongst the contributors informed Tate Britain’s 'Art under Attack' exhibition (2013) and addresses the challenges iconoclasm presents to the modern museum. By juxtaposing objects and places usually considered in isolation, Striking Images raises provocative questions about our understandings of cross-cultural differences and the value of representational objects from the broken swords of pre-historical bog graves to the Bamiyan Buddhas and contemporary art. Are any such objects ever ’finished’, or are they simply subject to constant transformation? In dialogue with each other, the essays consider this question and expand the field of iconoclasm - and cultural - studies.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: breaking images, Stacy Boldrick; Making and breaking images and meaning in Byzantium and early Islam, Leslie Brubaker; Iconoclasm in European prehistory? Breaking objects and landscapes, Henry Chapman and Benjamin Gearey; The Buddha head at Kofukuji Temple ( Nara, Japan), Fabio Rambelli and Eric Reinders; Marked faces, displaced bodies: monument breakage and reuse among the classic-period Maya, Megan E. O’Neil; Creative iconoclasms in Renaissance Italy, Anna M. Kim; Allegorical tomb of Lord Somers: British identity built on ruins?, Lauren Dudley; Ste Geneviève, iconoclasm and the transformation of signs in Revolutionary Paris, Richard Clay; Iconoclasm and the Enlightenment museum, James Simpson; Iconoclasm in the 20th century: machines, mass destruction and two World Wars, James Noyes; The Taliban, Bamiyan, and revisionist iconoclasm, Jamal J. Elias; The cruel practice of art, Simon Baker; Iconoclasm as conservation, concealment and subversion, Simon Cane and Jonathan Ashley-Smith; Conclusions: saving images (the fate of bones), Stacy Boldrick and Tabitha Barber; Bibliography; Index.

View More



Dr Stacy Boldrick is Curator of Research and Interpretation, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.

Professor Leslie Brubaker is Director of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, UK.

Dr Richard Clay is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Birmingham, UK.


'There is much for ACE members here, not least Leslie Brubaker's dazzling demolition of the well-worn binary account of the so-called Iconoclastic Controversy.' Art and Christianity