The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther, and the Making of by Steven Ozment

By Steven Ozment

This compelling e-book retells and revises the tale of the German Renaissance and Reformation throughout the lives of 2 debatable males of the 16th century: the Saxon court docket painter Lucas Cranach (the Serpent) and the Wittenberg monk-turned-reformer Martin Luther (the Lamb). Contemporaries and pals (each used to be godfather to the other’s children), Cranach and Luther have been very varied Germans, but their collaborative successes merged artwork and faith right into a progressive strength that turned the Protestant Reformation. Steven Ozment, an the world over well-known historian of the Reformation period, reprises the lives and works of Cranach (1472–1553) and Luther (1483–1546) during this generously illustrated e-book. He contends that Cranach's new paintings and Luther's oratory published a barrage of feedback upon the Vatican, the strength of which secured a brand new freedom of religion and pluralism of faith within the Western international. among Luther's pulpit compliment of the intercourse force in the divine property of marriage and Cranach's parade of sturdy, lithe girls, a brand new romantic, familial realization used to be born. The "Cranach lady" and the "Lutheran household"—both items of the merged Renaissance and Reformation worlds—evoked  a brand new association of society and foretold a brand new course for Germany.

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Additional info for The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther, and the Making of the Reformation

Sample text

For their part, the Anabaptists, both by choice and Roman-Protestant pressure, chose a segregated life in exclusive, regimented communities of their own creation and rule. For all the humanists’ witty criticism of Rome and Wittenberg, the cautiously dissenting Desiderius Erasmus and his brainy followers were no better equipped than the Anabaptists to engage, much less defeat, the unsentimental, non-egalitarian Roman Catholic world of the sixteenth century. ∂∞ Consider, for example, Erasmus’s operational plan for pacifying the then menacing Turks: The most e≈cacious way of overcoming the Turks would be if they beheld that which Christ taught and exemplified shining forth in our own lives, if they perceived that we do not covet their empires nor thirst after their gold nor seek their possessions, but rather strive for nothing except their salvation and Christ’s glory.

To all appearances they are a contingent of Ottoman Janissaries, soldiers or mercenaries, who first appeared in western Europe in the fourteenth century and are seen here extending their protective services. ≤∏ Given the gravity of the event, they seem crudely comedic and undermine the sanctity of the occasion. That they steal the scene is no compliment to the artist, nor any reassurance of the viewer’s salvation. The first rider wears an outsized turban, the second a diminishing straw or canvas hat, while the bearded third rider, to all appearances the leader of the pack, sports a wide-rimmed, red and black conical hat angled over his right ear.

Sited twenty-five kilometers away from his hometown of Kronach, Coburg had great appeal to regional artists. ∞≠ While such findings, or failure to find, seem only to diminish and confuse our knowledge of Cranach’s career, they actually help us keep the historical record straight. Cranach was indeed active both within and around Fortress Coburg, but the year was 1505, after he had become the electoral Saxon court painter, not 1501, when he was just getting started with his career. Reporting for work in Wittenberg in the summer of 1505, he found himself soon on the way to Coburg, and from there back and forth to other electoral Saxon residences.

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