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J. P. Ward and Gerald W. R. Ward

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Icon  

Richard Temple

[Gr. eikon: ‘image’]

Wooden panel with a painting, usually in tempera, of a holy person or one of the traditional images of Orthodox Christianity (see fig.), the religion of the Byzantine empire practised today mainly in Greece and Russia (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §VI, and Post-Byzantine art, §II, 1). The word also has a range of related but disparate meanings, from the abstract and philosophical to the purely literal. For example, it is still used in modern Greek to mean an image or picture in the ordinary sense. In antiquity, Platonists and Neo-Platonists held that the material, earthly world reflects, or is the image of, the higher and divine cosmos; the Old Testament provides the theme of man as the icon of God in the temple of the world; and St Paul declared that ‘Christ is the icon of God’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thus the idea of the icon is associated with cosmology and the theology of the Incarnation. In the Early Christian period, disputes over such questions as whether or not God can be known or depicted or the invisible can be seen were part of an intense debate surrounding the acceptability, meaning and function of images of Christ. All this was bound up with the complex questions of Christology that exercised the best minds of the period. Whole communities and nations were divided into Orthodox and heretics over the problem of defining the two natures of Christ, the relationship between his humanity and his divinity. The theory and belief system of icons was developed by theologians between the 4th and the 9th centuries, though only a few icons survive from then and up to the 12th century. Once established, however, the doctrinal principles never changed, and the study of icons is as much a matter of theology as of art. Subject-matter, form and composition did not deviate from the established dogma on which they depended; indeed, icons have been called theology in colour (Trubetskoy)....

Article

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

The destruction of images, particularly for religious reasons. The word is also used more broadly, however, to refer to the suppression of, or simple opposition to, images, whatever the motivation. The study of iconoclasm brings to light general issues concerning the nature and value of imagery, especially in relation to religious doctrines, while historically the nature of those doctrines themselves has determined the role played by iconoclasm within them.

See also Censorship.

Iconoclasm may take a number of forms and may be directed against a range of imagery. In its most fundamental form it may involve the total destruction of all images, but other forms might involve the destruction only of anthropomorphic images, or of all images of God, or again of all anthropomorphic images of God. Another form is the destruction of a devotional image that has ‘failed’, such as the Chinese practice of flogging local earth deities during periods of drought or famine, while other somewhat marginal forms might include the ritual destruction of images, for example during certain ...

Article

Willem F. Lash

Terms that refer broadly to the study of subjects and themes in works of art. Iconology, which is based on the results of iconography, is the more wide-ranging and comprehensive. One of the principal concerns of iconography is the discovery of symbolic and allegorical meanings in a work of art (see Symbol and Allegory). This article is concerned with Western culture and takes its examples primarily from northern European art. However, the principles involved can also be applied mutatis mutandis to the art of other cultures (see under separate country surveys).

Historically, the terms ‘iconography’ and ‘iconology’ have often been used loosely and interchangeably. However, a distinction between the two can be made: in the modern sense iconography involves the collection, classification and analysis of data, from which the theme or subject of a work of art is deduced. Iconology, on the other hand, starting from the results of iconography, attempts to explain the very basis for the existence of a work of art and its entire ...

Article

Sebastian Gardner

Term applied primarily to sets of beliefs that are explicitly held by social groups, are general in scope and have practical implications for participation in social life. The topic of these beliefs need not itself be social; religious beliefs as much as economic theories may be ideological. The term has, however, fallen into loose usage in sociology and other quarters, and there is much debate as to the correct understanding of the concept. This article gives a general definition of ideology and an outline of the ideological analysis of art with particular reference to Marxist theory.

By no means every socially accepted set of beliefs with practical implications counts as an ideology. The following are plausible, although not universally agreed, conditions for a set of beliefs to qualify as an ideology: (1) the set of beliefs demands explanation in terms of its social causes and effects on social relations rather than what (if anything) makes it true; (2) the social effects of the beliefs are more important in perpetuating them than the reasons advanced in their support; (3) the set of beliefs has come into existence because it promotes the interests of a particular social group or at least (in the case of an ascendent class) has the potential for doing so. It follows that ideological analysis is distinct from, and more complex than, the sociology of knowledge. Ideological analysis locates beliefs in their social or historical context and indicates homologies between patterns of beliefs and social structures, but at the same time it contests their justification. Ideological critique seeks to expose illusions and install true beliefs, thereby undoing social alienation and contributing to human emancipation. In ...

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K. S. Kropf

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Peter Kidson

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F. B. Sear

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Margaret Scott

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Mary Warner Marien

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Dominique Collon, Sara Peterson, Eva Wilson, John Villiers, Eva Baer, W. Iain Mckay, and Madeline McLeod

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Leslie Brubaker

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Angela H. Moor and Ian L. Moor

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Dominique Collon, Sara Peterson, Eva Wilson, John Villiers, Eva Baer, W. Iain Mckay, and Madeline McLeod

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Peter Kidson, Michael T. Davis, Paul Crossley, Dany Sandron, Kathryn Morrison, Andreas Bräm, Pamela Z. Blum, V. Sekules, Phillip Lindley, Ulrich Henze, Joan A. Holladay, G. Kreytenberg, Guido Tigler, R. Grandi, Anna Maria D’Achille, Francesco Aceto, J. Steyaert, Pedro Dias, Jan Svanberg, Angela Franco Mata, Peta Evelyn, Peter Tångeberg, Carola Hicks, Marian Campbell, Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, A. M. Koldeweij, G. Reinheckel, Judit Kolba, Lennart Karlsson, Barbara Drake Boehm, Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, Virginia Chieffo Raguin, Yvette Vanden Bemden, Nigel J. Morgan, Daniel Kletke, Erhard Drachenberg, and Scot McKendrick

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Graham F. Barlow, F. B. Sear, Meg Twycross, Roland Wolff, Marian C. Donnelly, Marie-Françoise Christout, John Orrell, Stanley Wells, Isidre Bravo, Marjoke de Roos, Jérôme de la Gorce, James Fowler, John Earl, Pieter van der Merwe, and Roger Pinkham

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In painting, the attempt to make images that seemingly share or extend the three-dimensional space in which the spectator stands. The term is also applied in sculpture, for a presentation of figures that attempts in some way to make them seem alive, and occasionally in architecture, for a presentation of structures that attempts in some way to enhance their dimensions. It was coined by Franz Wickhoff in 1895 and has been used by modernist writers to characterize all methodical attempts to represent, or ‘give the illusion of’, the visible world. But in current usage it generally denotes work where the intention is that something should seem not so much represented as substantially present.

Such intentions are widespread in sculpture, in work ranging from the statues of ancient Greece—often originally polychromed—to Mme Tussaud’s wax museum, set up in 1835. The use of the term for a distinct developing tradition is, however, mainly confined to European painting. In painting, three-dimensional illusions tend to lose their hold when the surface, seen closely, yields an identical image to each eye, thus showing its lack of depth: still more so when the spectator moves and the relation of the represented planes fails to change. As a result, illusionist painting falls largely within certain limits of presentation or of imagery. It may be shown to one eye only, in a ‘peepshow’, or be kept at a distance from the spectator, for instance on a high ceiling, where the two eyes can no longer confidently judge depth. For imagery, the painter may represent a flat surface from which planes jut and recede to a slight depth—the range of effects properly known as ...

Article

Grace Seiberling

Term generally applied to a movement in art in France in the late 19th century. The movement gave rise to such ancillaries as American Impressionism. The primary use of the term Impressionist is for a group of French painters who worked between around 1860 and 1900, especially to describe their works of the later 1860s to mid-1880s. These artists include Frédéric Bazille, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot (see fig.), Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley, as well as Mary Cassatt, Gustave Caillebotte (who was also an important early collector), Eva Gonzalès, Armand Guillaumin and Stanislas Lépine. The movement was anti-academic in its formal aspects and involved the establishment of venues other than the official Salon for showing and selling paintings.

The term was first used to characterize the group in response to the first exhibition of independent artists in 1874. Louis Leroy and other hostile critics seized on the title of a painting by ...

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Mary M. Tinti

Installation art encompasses a broad range of media, styles, definitions, practices, and origins, but it is most commonly associated with artworks since the 1950s that have called attention to the physical spaces that contain them and incorporated those spaces as important formal components that are integral to a viewer’s experience of the work. The term includes, but is not limited to, sculpture, light, sound, video, or performance pieces, and architectural, environmental, or assemblage constructions—all of which invite unique artistic and spatial encounters and offer a viable alternative to the equivalence of artworks as self-contained, singular objects. Implicit in much installation art is an assumption that it has been created to occupy a very particular space (whether as part of an exhibition or on its own); one that the viewer is meant to enter physically.

The history of installation art varies according to the source. Some cite the theories behind centuries of great cathedrals or planned formal gardens as precursors to installation art while others settle on the “total work of art” principles behind Wagner’s philosophy of the ...