At 12:45 p.m. Central Time TODAY, BBC 3 will broadcast an examination of the iconoclasm of the English Reformation and of the Civil War:
From the Dissolution of the monasteries to the Civil War, Diarmaid MacCulloch
tells the dramatic story of iconoclasm and reformation in the English
A difficult and gradual process, the English Reformation eventually succeeded
in denuding churches up and down the country of all their images - and (during
the Civil War) even their organs. Word replaced image as the medium for worship.
Looking at the white-washed churches of Wetherden and Bures in Suffolk, Diarmaid
assesses the complex set of motivations which drove the iconoclasts to tear down
statues, dismantle rood screens and smash stained glass. He examines the journal
of William Dowsing, probably the most notorious iconoclast of the Civil War
period, and other documents that shine a light on the complex motivations of
Diarmaid's journey also takes him to Winchester Cathedral where the great
rood screen was attacked (probably under Edward) and the stained glass later
smashed by Cromwell's soldiers. Academic Philip Lindley and sculptor Richard
Deacon help to explain the power of religious images and the corresponding fear
they induced in iconoclasts.
Finally, the Reverend Canon Doctor Roland Riem of Winchester and artist
Sophie Hacker talk about the place of images in today's churches and cathedrals.
Diarmaid considers whether the fanaticism of the Reformation reformers bears any
relation to the iconoclastic attacks we have witnessed in our own century. And
Tabitha Barber, Tate Britain curator, reflects on the legacy of this
iconoclastic movement: has the destructiveness of the Reformation made a lasting
impact on the history of British Art?