'Art Under Attack' - the Iconclasm Exhibition at the Tate
For example, 'A protestant allegory' by Girolamo_da_Treviso, which shows the 4 evangelists stoning a prostrate Pope. He is sheltering Hypocrisy and Avarice and it just about sums up the Reformation - I am astonished it is not used more in books on the period (by which I mean I have not seen it before!). Girolamo_da_Treviso_cat01.jpg (JPEG Image, 1040 × 837 pixels).
The painting is monochrome but has gold paint used very delicately for halos and decoration on the clothes of the Pope. Strange, that the gold is used for both - on the Pope it would be part of the story of Avarice, but this interpretation is confounded by the fact that it is used for the halos. So, just decoration. There is also a huge candle on the flat mountain top in the distant, obviously symbolic but curious.
Some of the medieval sculpture fragments are amazing - one of Jesus and another of Mary breast feeding.
The Exhibition continues with a change from religious to political iconoclasm - the destruction of statues of Charles 1st and then various King Georges and their kin toppled; one amazing picture of Nelson's Pillar in Dublin; then the focus changes to suffragettes. So far, just I remained just about convinced that this is a coherent narrative, although I wonder why they did not include the bronze head of Hadrian found in the Thames, presumably torn off at the end of the Roman period and in the BM (and 2 on display in the Museum of London - unmarked as replicas!).
But the last section really does belong somewhere else - the section on destruction as part of the art process does not stand up, partly because it is not interesting enough in comparison. But at the end the 3 final paintings are a return to form - the Chapman Brothers purchased original portraits cheaply from sales and defaced them. Terrible thing to do but a great end to a fascinating exhibition.