The Purposeful Destruction Of Images

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The Purposeful Destruction of Images Throughout the ages art has been subject to selective destruction and spoliation. It has been taken by conquering peoples as spoils of war, put to material re-use, and been subject to iconoclasm. Iconoclasm has been used as a means of not only purposeful forgetting, but, also the preservation of memory as a warning to others motivated diversely by ideology, religion, and politics. One artifact subject to iconoclasm is the painted portrait of Septimius Severus and his family in which one face was scraped out leaving the other three members untouched for political reasons and a demonstration of power. Another artifact affected by iconoclasm is a famous Byzantine icon, the Virgin Hodegetria, which was taken to be the Virgin and Christ Child by western Europe for religious purposes. “Breaking” the image in this figurative manner gave little to no meaning to the original icon and stole its value in history. Another “victim” of iconoclasm is a panel that once belonged to an arch of Marcus Aurelius that now adorns the arch of Constantine (Elsner, p. 212). These three artifacts have all been purposefully altered in diverse ways for different reasons, however, the fact remains that they have all faced damnatio memoriae, spolia, and/or iconoclasm. Iconoclasm has been described in many ways, the most known definition comes from Gardner 's Art through the Ages: A Global History by Fred Kleiner, iconoclasm is “the destruction of religious or sacred
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