Originally, one who destroys sacred religious images (or icons). The original iconoclasts destroyed countless works of art — religious images which were the subject of controversy among Christians of the Byzantine Empire, especially in the eighth and ninth centuries, when iconoclasm was at its height. Those who opposed images did not simply destroy them, although many were demolished; they also attempted to have the images barred from display and veneration. During the Protestant Reformation images in churches were again felt to be idolatrous and were once more banned and destroyed. In the nineteenth century "iconoclast" took on the secular sense that it has today: one who breaks traditions, doctrines, convictions, practices, etc. Dada artist Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968) is the modern archetype of the iconoclast. Iconoclasm is the destruction of images. It can also be attacking of established beliefs. Iconoclastically and iconoclasticism are among many other formations made with the root "icono-."

Not all opposition to the display of images is iconoclasm. Extreme opposition is often more akin to censorship or expression of strong distaste. (Artlex.com)

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