As we remember Reformation artists Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer today, we read about the history of art during the Reformation with an excerpt from The Protestant Reformation: 1517–1559.
The Reformation teachings were given expression by Reformation artists. The altar pieces, pulpit decorations, and other religious paintings of Lucas Cranach and others emphasized Christ crucified, the Word, Law and Gospel, the Lord’s Supper as a communion of reformed believers, Baptism as a congregational event, and the like. The Lutherans had no immediate need to develop a distinctive architecture because they inherited many more churches and chapels in the overchurched cities than they needed, and they even, as in Augsburg, shared church structures with the Catholics. The Reformed Protestants, on the other hand, when able to move from private dwellings to public houses of worship inclined toward a meeting house structure rather than the traditional basilica or Gothic church emphasizing the altar. It is sometimes said that the doctrine of the priesthood of believers gave impetus to the portraiture of laypeople, but the shift to the portrayal of individual patrons and to secular themes outside of ecclesiastical art took place also in Catholic countries. . . .
The reformers’ emphasis upon the Book and the printed word directed artists to book and pamphlet illustrations, not only of religious but also of scientific works. Cranach, for example, did many illustrations for Luther’s books and pamphlets.
Devotional reading is from The Protestant Reformation: 1517–1559, pages 343–44 © 1985 Lewis W. Spitz. Reprinted in 2001 with a new preface, additional bibliographic information, and typographical corrections. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.