Beheaded, beaten up, broken to bits… Tate Britain’s major autumn exhibition, Art under Attack, looks at the history of physical assaults on art in Britain from the Reformation to the present day. Divided into three sections, the show looks at the deliberate destruction of icons, symbols and monuments for religious, political and aesthetic reasons. Early works on show include statues of Christ decapitated during the Dissolution, smashed stained glass from Rievaulx Abbey, and a book of hours, defaced by state-sanctioned religious reformers. Moving through the centuries, the show also features a portrait of Oliver Cromwell, which was hung upside in the nineteenth century (and remains so to this day) by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, works targeted by the Suffragettes, including Edward Burne-Jones 'Sibylla Delphica' (1898) and Allen Jones's woman-as-furniture 'Chair' (1969), which was damaged on International Women's Day during the 1980s, concluding with artists who have used destruction as a creative force – such as Gustav Metzger, John Latham and Yoko Ono.
See our top five damaged and defaced art works here.