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Assignment | Iconography Final Project (McGinley): Getting Started

ARTS 1301 | Prof. Mike McGinley (Fall 2022)

Assignment Summary

Your group will choose an area to focus (traditional art pieces, films and street art, but even fashion, architecture, landscapes/parks) on discussing the related iconography, iconoclasm, and restoration & conservation. You'll define what each of these means, then apply the concept to provide examples and analysis of relevant art.

Your Goals:

Basic Definitions

Self-Portrait with Death Playing the Fiddle Iconography [Gr.,=image-drawing] or iconology [Gr.,=image-study], in art history, the study and interpretation of figural representations, either individual or symbolic, religious or secular; more broadly, the art of representation by pictures or images, which may or may not have a symbolic as well as an apparent or superficial meaning.

Related term for discovery: symbolic/symbols/symbolism  (or symbol* for short, in the databases)

[Gr.,=image breaking], opposition to the religious use of images.

Fall of the Damned - damaged by acid attackThe term is now used in two related senses: (i) to denote any destructive activity directed against the substance of a belief through ridiculing the symbols upon which it is nourished, and in which it finds expression; political iconoclasm is a significant modern pastime, usually severely punished in any state which relies on government through symbols; (ii) since icons are, by extension, ideas, to denote the assailing and ridiculing of cherished beliefs.

Related search terms for discovery: vandalism, attack

the preservation of structurally sound works of art, the halting of processes that lead to the damage of works of art, and the repair of already damaged works of art.

All effective art conservation and restoration ultimately depend upon the restorer's understanding of materials, technical craftsmanship, and aesthetic and historical awareness. The support (such as wood panel, canvas, paper), the ground (gesso, chalk), and the surface treatment (wax, varnish) of a painting all undergo some form of decay over the years.

Exploring Art & Topics

What Can You Select? Just About Anything.

You may find it a good idea to start in the middle, so to speak. Identify a work of art/cultural artifact that has been deliberately destroyed, then work backwards to research its iconography and forwards to investigate hopes of its restoration.

However, if you're really into one particular piece that -- darn it -- wasn't itself destroyed at some point, it turns out... you do have some wiggle room within that theme. That is, Object A is okay, but Object B with the same iconography was destroyed -- you're not forced to drop Object A altogether.


Screenshot of an article from Oxford Art: Grove Art Online for "Egypt, ancient." The article's headings are listed on the left a table of contents, and 2 headings relating to iconography are highlighted.Some "place" articles have specific sections on the iconography of the place/period. You can browse articles that include these explicit sections lock icon - you'll need to sign in to this LSC resource(or use the search filters to narrow it down more).

Accessing the Databases

Access online library materials through the library databases!

Student ID BadgeBrowse by subject area

To access the databases locked icon (same icon that displays by the LSC-limited access resources) from off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your 14-digit library barcode.

Don't have one yet? Request a barcode number online.