Cranach's role in the Reformation

October 31 2016

Image of Cranach's role in the Reformation

Picture: Apollo

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous Theses on the door of his local church. In Apollo Magazine, Andrew Pettegree has an excellent article looking at how the art of Lucas Cranach the Elder helped spread Luther's ideas:

Here we need to be aware of two great, but comparatively understudied innovations emerging from Cranach’s workshop. The first was the transformation of the woodcut from a relatively undervalued medium of artistic expression, to a powerful tool of evangelism. The second was the development of a model of cultural industrialisation that enabled images to be produced on a sufficiently large scale to serve a movement of ideas growing at a quite remarkable rate between 1517 and 1525. It was during these years that Cranach created the images that defined the new movement, and organised their production in industrial quantities. It was an extraordinary act of cultural innovation: all the more so given it was accomplished in a place, Wittenberg, that up to this point had hardly registered on the cultural atlas of the Holy Roman Empire.

Notice to "Internet Explorer" Users

You are seeing this notice because you are using Internet Explorer 6.0 (or older version). IE6 is now a deprecated browser which this website no longer supports. To view the Art History News website, you can easily do so by downloading one of the following, freely available browsers:

Once you have upgraded your browser, you can return to this page using the new application, whereupon this notice will have been replaced by the full website and its content.