New York City, NY
Five hundred years ago a monk in a backwater town at the edge of Germany took on the most powerful men in Europe: the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope…and he won. Martin Luther’s Reformation is one of the most successful media campaigns in history and an event that completely altered the course of western history. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Luther posting the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, this exhibition explores how the Reformation was launched and propagated through Luther’s strategic use of media: printed books, prints, paintings, and music.
Luther’s thoughts on Scripture and man’s relationship to God were revolutionary, but the way that text and art were employed to disseminate his message was equally ground-breaking. The inception and development of the Reformation will be illustrated in Word and Image with over eighty artworks and objects, the majority of which are from museums in Germany which have never been seen before in North America. Exceptional highlights include one of the five existing printed copies of the Ninety-Five Theses, nearly twenty paintings, prints, and drawings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Luther’s manuscript draft of his Old Testament translation, the pulpit from the church in Wittenberg where Luther preached, and over thirty of Luther’s most important publications and the ones that led the pope to excommunicate Luther and make him the most successful heretic in history.
Credit: Exhibition Overview from the The Morgan Library & Museum website
Whether you go or not, Lucas Cranach the Elder: Art and Devotion of the German Reformation presents Cranach's Reformation painting to explain the pictorial strategies Cranach devised to clarify and interpret Lutheran thought, and to offer an interpretation of Cranach's art as an agent of religious change.