| [for a detail]
Luther's goal was a theological debate; the
authorities would have none of it. But thou-
sands of copies of the "Theses" had been
made and distributed, thanks to the new tech-
coalesced around them. It was too late for the ancient Church: the Reformation
became a revolution, scourging pilgrimages and liturgical practises as
"senseless foolery". Led by Luther's rhetoric which was sometimes eloquent and
religious, sometimes violent and vulgar, the Reformers went quickly from demanding
the abolition of priestly celibacy to a thorough re-casting of the Church. And the
movement assumed a political and social dimension, propagated under the slogan:
"freedom of Christian people". Together with the Humanist movement, the Reformation
effected cultural change on a hitherto unprecedented scale.
Luther had a broad following: he was joined by merchants, peasants, craftsmen and
princes. Supported by the princes, Luther was able to stand up to the Pope and the
Emperor. Among his followers was the Northern Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach
the Elder. At the Wittenberg Court, Cranach became a personal friend of the Reformer.
Cranach executed several portraits of Luther, among them one for St Mary's Church,
Wittenberg. It portrays Luther in his office as preacher there. In much of northern
Europe, the ancient Church was no match for Luther's movement. After the Schism
with Rome had taken place, Protestantism was ready to grow into a world-wide movement.