Masterpieces in History

(German, 1472-1553)
Martin Luther Preaching
before 1539

CRANACH, Martin Luther
[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.

[Painting List]

featured links:

  The Artchive
 A great art history
 resource. Over 300
 artists are online.

  Masters of

 Over 60 of the world's
 best photographers.

 Your purchase
 supports MyStudios!

 Your purchase
 supports MyStudios!

  Screensavers from
   Cass Design

 Your purchase
 supports MyStudios!

Manet Treasures Vermeer Sources Home Art Haus HVM