In 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, as initiated by Martin Luther, will be commemorated throughout Germany and the United States with major events and exhibitions.
Three main exhibitions will be held in Germany between April and November 2017, while from October 2016 to January 2017, a number of important documents and artifacts from the time of the Reformation will travel to the U.S. (many for the first time!) to be displayed in four major museums across the country.
Below is a look at these seven important exhibitions.
Berlin: “The Luther Effect”
April 12 to November 5, 2017
The Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historic Museum) will be hosting an exhibition called ‘The Luther Effect,’ displaying the diversity and historical impact of Protestantism and also reflecting on its potential to cause conflicts between different cultures. Moreover, the exhibition includes extraordinary artwork as well as important objects related to Protestantism from the era between 1500 and 2000.
Wittenberg: “Luther! 95 Treasures – 95 People”
May 13 to November 5, 2017
Wittenberg is the center of the Reformation – it was an important place in Martin Luther’s activities for over 35 years and the famous place where Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Castle Church door, thereby starting the Reformation. The exhibition ‘Luther! 95 Treasures – 95 People’ contains some of Luther’s treasured personal belongings such as his pulpit and cowl. Moreover, visitors can explore other authentic objects from the Reformation and its history.
Eisenach: “Luther and the Germans”
May 4 to November 5, 2017
Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Eisenach is one of the most popular Luther site worldwide, with 350,000 visitors annually. It was here that Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible into German – in just 11 weeks! The exhibition ‘Luther and the Germans’ focuses on the relevant question of how different eras in Germany affected and formed the unique picture of Luther that we have today.
Events taking place in the United States:
New York City: “Word and Image”
October 7, 2016 to January 22, 2017
The Morgan Library & Museum will present an exhibition called ‘Word and Image,’ which displays rare paper samples and also selected art works about Martin Luther’s life.
As a highlight, the exhibition features one of only five still existing printed copies of the 95 theses Luther posted onto the church in Wittenberg. Also on view is the letter Luther wrote to Pope Karl V., which was later bought by American entrepreneur John P. Morgan, who gifted it to German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1911. In 2015, it was accepted into the index of the UNESCO Memory of the World program and is ordinarily shown at the Luther House in Wittenberg.
Minneapolis: “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation”
October 30, 2016 to January 15, 2017
The most comprehensive exhibition will take place at the Minneapolis Institute of Art: ‘Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation’ will show major original samples such as books, graphics and paintings (including some by Lucas Cranach) to give visitors a detailed overview of Martin Luther’s role in the Reformation. Moreover, the exhibition paints a picture of the cultural and historical environment of the Reformation in the 16th century as well as Martin Luther’s family life by archaeological findings at his parental home and the Luther house in Wittenberg.
Atlanta: “Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation”
October 11, 2016 to January 16, 2017
The cabinet exhibition ‘Law and Grace: Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation’ will focus on Lucas Cranach’s painting “Gesetz und Gnade“(Law and Grace).
This painting displays the main concern of Martin Luther’s reform: The perception of the salvation of humans only through the mercy of God. Also part of the exhibition will be many printed works from the Kessler Reformation Collection as well as selected exhibits from the four cooperating German museums.
“Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach”
November 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017
The LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) will be displaying great objects from the period between 1460 and 1580, which was marked by immense changes in not only thought and philosophy but also science and religion, in a special exhibition named “Renaissance and Reformation.” Approximately 100 objects from this period of conflicts and civil wars by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach and many more will be shown to highlight how these events influenced the artists of the time and their works.
Courtesy German National Tourist Office.