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Reaktion Books, Limited
Public Monuments: Art in Political Bondage, 1870-1997

Public Monuments: Art in Political Bondage, 1870-1997

by Sergiusz Michalski


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Public monuments to significant individuals or to political concepts are all too familiar. But the notions underlying them are not so obvious. Sergiusz Michalski traces the history of the public monument from the 1870s, when erecting them became an artistic, political and social pre-occupation, to today when the distinction between public monuments and public sculpture is increasingly blurred.

The author shows how, in its golden age – up until 1914 – the public monument served the purpose of both education and legitimization. The French Third Republic, for example, envisaged the monument as a symbol of bourgeois meritocracy. In more recent decades, the public monument has been charged with the task of commemorating and symbolizing one of humankind's most terrible catastrophes - the Holocaust. Today, although the artistic failure of countless European war memorials has signaled the beginning of the demise of the public monument in the West, it continues to flourish elsewhere, commemorating despotic leaders from Kim Il Sung to Saddam Hussein.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781861890252
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 12/28/1998
Series: Reaktion Books - Essays in Art and Culture Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.14(h) x 0.73(d)

About the Author

Sergiusz Michalski teaches art history at the University of Braunschweig, Germany. His previous books include The Reformation and the Visual Arts (1993) and The New Objectivity (1994).

Table of Contents

1. Democratic 'Statuomania' in Paris
2. Bismarck and the Lure of Teutonic Granite
3. Memorials to the Great War
4. The Nazi Monuments
5. The Communist Pantheon
6. In Quest of a New Heroic Form
7. Invisibility and Inversion
8. Public Monuments in the Third World
9. Monuments in the 1990s and Beyond
Select Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements

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