Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

What makes an image an icon?

Image, branding, and logos are obsessions of our age. Iconic images dominate the media. In his new book, Christ to Coke,  art historian Professor Martin Kemp examines eleven mega-famous examples of icons, including the American flag, the image of Christ’s face, the double helix of DNA, and the heart.

In the three videos below, Martin Kemp discusses three of those iconic images: the Mona Lisa, the Coca-Cola bottle, and the swastika.

Martin Kemp FBA is Emeritus Professor in the History of Art at Trinity College, Oxford. He has written, broadcast, and curated exhibitions on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day, and his books include The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Bruneslleschi to Seurat (1992), Leonardo (2004, new edition publishing October 2011), and the prize-winning Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man (1989 and 2006). His newest book is Christ to Coke: How Image Becomes Icon.

View more about this book on the

Recent Comments

There are currently no comments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *