Aniconism is the idea of avoiding or banning the visualisation of divine or human beings. The word aniconic, derived from Aniconism is used to suggest or state the absence of figurative representations in a particular belief system. The word is derived from the Greek εικων ‘image’ (icon or eikon) with the negative prefix an- and the suffix -ism. The three largest faiths in the world have been influenced by aniconism at various points in time and to different extends. In Byzantine Orthodox Christian art it resulted in an iconoclasm. In the Evangelic and protestant spin-off from the Catholic Christian Church, it resulted in the so-called reformation led by the thinking of Luther and the Calvinists. Long before then the Jewish banned figurative sculpture and imagery, and the faith of Islam has had a ban on all representational art in their places of worship since 711, the result of which is their beautiful abstract and geometrical art.

See also iconostasis, Byzantine art and Mudéjar.

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Alhambra — Art & Architecture
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