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Book Sections Year : 2024

“Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”


Heritage is always dissonant. Earlier values are expressed in the artifacts we have inherited, which can later be rejected by failing to reflect our own values. Thus, history and its artistic representation are constantly revised and rethought. Some works, like Victor Arnautoff’s 1936 mural Life of George Washington, were created in a sense of critical dissonance, but are condemned today for other reasons: our own sense of dissonance. Yet, while we sit in judgment over such works, we also bemoan earlier losses due to previous dissonant reactions. Religious, economic and political situations, or simply changes of taste, have led to great artistic and cultural loss. Mediaeval castles and churches have given way to later edifices; interior decoration hardly lasts beyond a few decades. The waves of iconoclasm, the eighth-century iconoclasts, the sixteenth-century Protestant iconophobes in England, or the Taliban today have destroyed entire histories of artistic achievement. We invariably condemn such acts as barbaric. The past is therefore extremely fragile as it is prone to erasure and reconfiguration to accord with contemporary taste. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but many people react with hostility to a past that does not reflect their specific situations. Tensions between personal creativity, social acceptance and historical reevaluation continually complicate our understanding of artistic heritage.
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hal-04590388 , version 1 (03-06-2024)



  • HAL Id : hal-04590388 , version 1


Francis Steven Mickus. “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition”: Constant Disruption and Disturbing Continuities when Considering Heritage. Patrizia Battilani; Maria Giovanna Belcastro; Krzysztof Kowalski; Teresa Nicolosi. Dissonant Heritage: Concept, Critiques, Cases, 1, UNA Europa, pp.162-177, 2024, Cultural Heritage Book Series, 9788854971431. ⟨hal-04590388⟩
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