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"Peace if possible. Truth at all costs."
In addition to changing both theology and the church, Martin Luther and his 95 Theses also had an enormous impact on the development of art and culture. From paint on a canvas to a haunting melody or moving stage performance, the expression of art knows no bounds. No matter which form it takes, true art can teach us something about the artist and ourselves – and Reformation art is no exception. The effects of the Reformation spilled over onto the canvases of contemporary artists of the time, marking a distinct move away from the strong religious imagery of the Catholic Church in favor of portraits featuring leading reformers in the role of an Apostle or Biblical figure. In fact, had the Reformation not made such a great impact on the world of art, we may well never have known what Martin Luther actually looked like!
The man we have to thank for creating one of the most famous Luther portraits was also one of the most gifted painters of his time: Lucas Cranach the Elder. His unfailing support of the Reformation and loyal friendship to Martin Luther was mirrored in his work, which guests can still appreciate these days in museums and galleries throughout LutherCountry. Lutherstadt Wittenberg, for example, is home to one of the most famous Cranach relics: The Reformation Altar in St. Mary's Town Church. Here, art enthusiasts can also visit the Cranach House and Cranach Courtyards, which provide in-depth insights into the professional and private lives of the Cranach family.
Dessau is another "must see" on your artistic journey through LutherCountry, as it holds the most extensive collection of art done by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son, Lucas Cranach the Younger, in all of Northern LutherCountry. As you tour LutherCountry, you'll also be able to find traces of the Cranach family and their Reformation-inspired art in many other cities, such as Erfurt, Eisenach, and Weimar. Come and visit interesting exhibitions and events on your artistic journey through LutherCountry!