Thursday, November 24, 2016

Celebrating 499 years but who is counting: Luther and the Protestant Reformation

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant split from the Catholic Church is next year. And the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is marking the occasion with a beguiling new exhibition, "Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach,” which brings together 113 magnificent objects from state museums all over Germany.

The period under consideration (1460–1580) was marked by conflicts, civil wars, and complex relationships with neighboring countries, but it also witnessed a flourishing of many states and cities, reflected in the skills of their craftsmen. Additionally, the era was characterized by profound changes in thought, philosophy, science, and religion, spearheaded by Martin Luther’s writings, which in turn transformed the work of many artists of the day such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Mathias Grünwald, Tilman Riemenschneider, and Peter Vischer. These revolutionary ideas and innovations played a transformational role in the development of modern Western societies.

Der Reuter, erroneously called Knight, Death, Devil
“With these mass-produced prints, the modern media age dawns,” reports Times art critic Christopher Knight. “Gutenberg’s mechanical printing press allowed for their wide public dissemination, as it did for the Bible…. From the privileged text of a closed priesthood, the Bible went open-source.” Los Angeles Times

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

I'm sure the commemoration of the Reformation will be a great exhibit! I agree that Gutenberg's printing press made many things available to the layman. For eons, they were told they needed a priest to read them the Bible. Not anymore!