Between 1976 and 1980 Kiefer made a series of paintings, photographs, and books that take as their theme the iconoclastic controversy (8th-9th century) of the Byzantine Empire. Rooted in the Second Commandment's prohibition against graven images, the iconoclasm saw the persecution of artist-monks and the destruction of icons. Restaged in his studio with miniature handmade models of World War II tanks (here, one has laid waste to a piece of clay in the shape of a painter's palette) around which are inscribed the names of important figures on both sides, the drawing links the battle to the Nazi's attack on "degenerate art" in the late 1930s, which led to the destruction of hundreds of modernist works.
Inscription: Titled (L.L. in gouache): Bilderstreit Inscribed (center left in gouache): Konstantin V. [Constantine V]/ Theophilos/ Th. Melissenas [Theodotos I Kassiteras] Inscribed (U.R. in gouache): Leo III. Inscribed around palette in pen and ink (clockwise): Th. Studites [Theodore of Stoudios] Staurakios Eirene [Irene] Michael III. Theodora Artavdsdos [Artabasdos]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 15, 1998–March 21, 1999, no. 40.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Broken Flowers and Grass: Nature and Landscape in the Drawings of Anselm Kiefer," March 24–August 2, 2009, no catalogue.
Nan Rosenthal in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1994–1995." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 53 (Autumn 1995), p. 68.
Nan Rosenthal. Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 92–93, no. 40, ill. (color).