The Reformation and the Visual Arts: The Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe

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Routledge, 1993 - Art - 232 pages
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This fascinating book, available for the first time in English, provides a unique overview of religious images and iconoclasm, starting with the consequences of the Byzantine image controversy and ending with the Orthodox churches of the nineteenth century. The author argues that not all Protestants espoused iconoclasm and that, in fact, the question of images played a large role in the ensuing divisions of European Protestantism. He also puts forward the thesis that the question of images in religious movements was intricately connected with the Eucharist controversy, that is Christ's real presence in the host. The positions of the major Protestant reformers - Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and Karlstadt - on the legitimacy of religious paintings are analysed and the author investigates iconoclasm both as a form of religious and political protest and as a complex set of mock-revolutionary rites and denigration rituals.
Covering both Western and Eastern Europe, the book contains entirely original research on relations between Protestant iconoclasm and the extreme icon-worship of the Eastern Orthodox churches, as well as providing a brief discussion of Eastern protestantizing iconoclast sects, especially in Russia. Covering a vast geographical and chronological span, and bringing new and exciting material to light, the book reveals the peculiar mixture of theological fundamentalism and pragmatic public action which characterized the important question of images.

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