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A cultural icon can be an image, a symbol, a logo, picture, name, face, person, or building or other image that is readily recognised, and generally represents an object or concept with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group.
A representation of an object or person, or that object or person may come to be regarded as having a special status as particularly representative of, or important to, or loved by, a particular group of people, a place, or a period in history.
Icons and persons
Human beings can acquire cultural iconic status through their actions, achievements, role, beliefs, convictions.
Iconic figures can emerge in social groupings (Gay icon, Pop icon), political parties, among fans of a particular sport or type of music.
Some images may be quite well known, though their name may not be familiar, or even the person depicted may be unknown, as is the case with La Gioconda. In other cases, a name such as Shakespeare may bring to mind a well-known portrait of that person.
Icons and brands
- Examples: Andy Warhol , Budweiser, Campbell's Soup, BMW, Chanel, Coca-Cola, Guinness, Harley-Davidson , Lego, Martha Stewart , Nike, Norman Rockwell, Star Wars, Vuitton
- Lessons from Cultural Icons - How to Create an Iconic Brand suggests that brands can reflect societal values and changes, but many people have become weary of them. Many brands aspire to become cultural icons, but fail. Cultural icons are often timeless, imprinted in our consciousness. They can go through several stages, from "rumblings, undercurrents" via "catharsis, explosion" and "mass acceptance, ripple effect" to "glorification, representative value". While brands are rational and driven by features, cultural icons are emotional, free, driven by feeling, and creating emotional bonds.
- In 2001, the National Statistics Office UK 2001 Census in the United Kingdom was forced to add Jedi Knight as an option under Religion.
Cultural icons worldwide
Cultural icons may be national, regional or related to a city, and they can symbols for a nation, or can evoke particular values held by that state. For example, France
as a symbol of the French Revolution
and the rejection of royalism in favour of republicanism
The Opening Ceremony
of the Beijing Olympics
featured a number of cultural icons:
- Baltika Folklore Festival
- See also: List of cultural icons of France
- National symbols: Marianne , Tricolore, Bastille Day
- Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Gabin
- Art: Claude Monet, Mona Lisa
- Authors: Francoise Sagan ,
- Buildings: Arc de Triomphe, Château de Chambord, Centre Pompidou, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Mont-Saint-Michel, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame de Paris, Palace of Versailles, [[Sainte-Chapelle]
- Fashion: Coco Chanel , Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent , Louis Vuitton
- Food and drink: Haute cuisine, Bistro, Café, Camembert, croissant,
- History: Hugh Capet, Charlemagne, Clovis, Fifth Republic, French Revolution, Charles de Gaulle, Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Napoléon Bonaparte, Vichy France
- Language: Académie française
- Music: Richard Anthony, Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Bécaud, Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet, Maurice Chevalier, Claude Débussy, Sacha Distel, Claude François, Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Gréco, Johnny Halliday, Jean Michel Jarre, Yves Montand,,Édith Piaf, Maurice Ravel, Henri Salvador, Erik Satie, Alan Stivell, Charles Trenet, troubadour
- Sport: Tour de France
- Art and architecture:
- Food and drink:Guinness
- Tax reform: Country profile:
- Country profile
- In 2006, the British Broadcasting Corporation presented Living Icons , an attempt to find the greatest cultural icon in Britain today. Nominations were received, a shortlist of ten was compiled, and a vote decided the winner, David Attenborough [(natural history broadcaster). Runners-up were the musicians Morrissey, Paul McCartney and David Bowie, the actors Michael Caine and Stephen Fry, the singer Kate Bush, the dramatist Alan Bennett, the fashion model Kate Moss, and the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
- Jonathan Ive, designer of iMac and iPod, voted "most influential cultural icon in Britain"
- Other "living icons":*Sir Alec Guinness , Twiggy
- The Scottish Government has established a new scheme to honour the nation's most successful artists and cultural icons
- A Welsh Assembly minister has issued a report in May 2008 which calls for maximisation of the potential of Wales's cultural icons
- ICONS Online is a not-for-profit organisation whose first project is ICONS.a portrait of England The project received more than a thousand nominations. Among the most popular items are the Yorkshire Pudding, the Christmas Pantomime, the Royal Mail red pillar box, Rupert Bear, afternoon tea, the Houses of Parliament, the Household Cavalry, the English seaside town, the National Trust, Ordnance Survey maps, the village green, High tea, Full English breakfast, Remembrance Day poppies, 10 Downing Street, Beefeaters.
- List of cultural icons of England
- List of cultural icons of Northern Ireland
- List of cultural icons of Scotland
- List of cultural icons of Wales
- General: Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam
- Art: American Gothic, Nighthawks
- Architecture: Statue of Liberty , World Trade Center, Empire State Building
- Authors: Norman Mailer ,
- Film: Hollywood, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean
- Popular music: Bing Crosby, Isaac Hayes , Elvis Presley , Michael Jackson,
- Country music: Johnny Cash , Country Music Association , Vince Gill, Grand Ole Opry, Emmylou Harris , Loretta Lynn , Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Shania Twain, Hank Williams, Jr.
- Counter cultural music: Bob Dylan
- Sport: Baseball
- Food and drink: Coca Cola, Betty Crocker, Barbecue ,
- Politics: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan