Destruction of Monuments in Europe: Reasons and Consequences

By Rozmeri Basic.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper addresses three main reasons for destruction of monuments in European countries in transition: political, religious, and economic. It is possible to say that the first category was dominant during the early years of the fall of Soviet Union when physical removal of works was mostly associated with public monuments in countries of the former Eastern Bloc. For example, Poland and Czech Republic were notorious for violent destruction of statues of Lenin and Stalin by mobs creating carnival-like events. The religious reasons behind destruction of cultural heritage are closely related to the previous category and consequential raise of nationalism. The country of Serbia is among the most graphic examples where mostly Christian and Islamic monuments were desecrated and burnt to the ground. The third and less noticeable, yet widespread reason for destruction of the cultural heritage, is caused by overall poor economic status of majority of population and therefore, lack of education and appreciation for culture in general. For this class of people, public monuments made of metal and stone represent only row resources available for immediate income. Unfortunately, country of Serbia is a good example in this category as well. The author hopes to suggest some solutions to ease and eventually prevent the so-called contemporary iconoclasm taking place in several countries in transition in their effort to position themselves in newly-established (political) geography of Europe.

Keywords: Contemporary Iconoclasm, Monuments, Countries in Transition

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.283-306. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.785MB).

Dr. Rozmeri Basic

Associate Professor, Art and Art History, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA

Rozmeri Basic is an Associate Dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts and Professor of Art History, School of Art and Art History at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. Dr. Basic has received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Arts (Belgrade), a M.F.A. in Art History, and a Ph.D. in Art History and Comparative Arts from Ohio University. She presented and published her papers worldwide and she is an active participant in numerous professional organizations. In 2003 and 2004 she received two prestigious awards: a Fulbright award for senior scholars for research in Egypt, and a grant for publishing support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago. In 2007, Dr. Basic was one of the recipients of the newly established University of Oklahoma Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2010 she has received her second Fulbright research award for senior scholars to conducting project in Serbia.

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