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Upcoming exhibition at the Morgan: Word and Image: Martin Luther's Reformation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016   (0 Comments)

New York, NY, September 9, 2016 — 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 ranks among the most successful religious movements in history, altering western society and culture forever, and was a testament to his creative use of communications, notably rapidly evolving print technology, to promote his views. To mark the historic anniversary of Luther posting the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg in 1517, Word and Image: Martin Luther’s Reformation, a new exhibition opening at the Morgan Library & Museum on October 7, explores the evolution of his movement and its triumphant propagation in text and art. The exhibition will remain on view through January 22.

Word and Image includes more than ninety objects, highlighted by one of the six existing printed copies of the Ninety-Five Theses, and nearly forty paintings, prints, and drawings by the celebrated German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Elder. Also on view will be Luther’s manuscript draft of his famous Old Testament translation, sculptor Conrad Meit’s exquisite statues of Adam and Eve, and over thirty of Luther’s most important publications. The majority of the works in the show are loans from German museums and have never before been exhibited in the United States.

"The Morgan is internationally recognized for its outstanding collections of early printed books and Northern European prints and drawings, so an exhibition on Martin Luther’s deft use of such material to spread his views is an important and exciting opportunity for us," said Colin B. Bailey, the museum’s director. "Luther understood that his ideas and public image required textual and visual support on a large scale to engage a mass audience. He took advantage of new developments in printing and befriended accomplished artists such as Cranach the Elder to help him in this effort. The result was a sophisticated melding of word and image, that helped launch a religious and cultural revolution."

View the full press release (PDF) at the Morgan's website.


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