L’iconoclasme (du gr. εικών eikon « icône » et klaô « casser ») est, au sens strict, la destruction de représentations, qu’elle soit due à des considérations religieuses ou profanes. L’iconoclasme est opposé à l’iconodulie. Ce courant de pensée rejette l’adoration vouée aux représentations du divin, dans les icônes en particulier. L’iconoclaste chrétien s’appuie sur le troisième des Dix Commandements : « Tu ne feras pas d’image taillée ». (Exode 20: 4). Dans un second sens, le terme iconoclaste (adjectif ou nom) désigne une attitude ou un comportement d’hostilité manifeste aux traditions.

, Greek for “image-breaking”, is the deliberate destruction (or defamation) of important symbolic images (or icons) recognized within a culture, religion, or society. An act of iconoclasm usually implies that the activity was public, rebellious, and originating from within the respective group.

People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any person who breaks or disdains established dogmata or conventions. Conversely, people who revere or venerate religious images are called ‘iconolaters‘. In a Byzantine context they are known as ‘iconodules‘, or ‘iconophiles’.

Iconoclasm may be carried out by people of a different religion, but is often the result of sectarian disputes between factions of the same religion. The two Byzantine outbreaks during the 8th and 9th centuries were unusual in that the use of images was the main issue in the dispute, rather than a by-product of wider concerns. In Christianity, iconoclasm has generally been motivated by a literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbid the making and worshipping of “graven images”.