Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto)

Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto)

Title

Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto)

[cda 2019]

Painting on deciduous wood

Medium

Painting on deciduous wood

[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75]

Martin Luther's sermon is shown on the recto of the predella. This motif was frequently represented in Lutheran church art because the reformer highly valued the proclamation of the gospel and public ministry [...]. However, its position on the altarpiece is novel. [...] It is depicted in a very bright

Martin Luther's sermon is shown on the recto of the predella. This motif was frequently represented in Lutheran church art because the reformer highly valued the proclamation of the gospel and public ministry [...]. However, its position on the altarpiece is novel. [...] It is depicted in a very bright and puristic room giving the scene an almost visionary character. From the viewer's perspective Martin Luther is shown on the right, wearing a robe and standing in a refectory pulpit. The pulpit is supported by an architectural element decorated with acanthus leaves and heads of putti. The balustrade is decorated with a wild boar's head and a man's head intertwined with vines. Luther's face is similar to the woodcut portrait of the reformer, which accompanied his epitaph, printed in 1546.

The central point with respect to both content and composition is the image of Christ crucified, which is positioned between the preacher of God's word and the absorbed congregation. The body of the suffering savior hangs on a T-shaped cross, the inscription 'INRI` is visible on a plaque above his head. The crown of thorns rests on his head, which is inclined towards his right shoulder. Christ's pained face and tortured body are covered with drops of blood. A loin cloth bulges out around his hips with the ends fluttering, while blood streams from the wound in his side.

[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 79]

Attributions
Lucas Cranach der Ältere
Lucas Cranach the Younger and Workshop

Attributions

Lucas Cranach der Ältere

and Lucas Cranach the Younger and workshop
[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75]

Lucas Cranach the Younger and Workshop

... and Lucas Cranach the Elder
[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75]

Production date
1547 - 1548

Production date

1547 - 1548

[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 103.5 x 233 x 1.8 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 103.5 x 233 x 1.8 cm

  • Dimensions of the entire altarpiece: 447 x 562 cm

  • [Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75]

Signature / Dating
None
Inscriptions and Labels
- at the top of the cross: 'INRI'

Inscriptions and Labels

Inscriptions, Badges:

  • - at the top of the cross: 'INRI'
Owner
Evangelische Stadtkirche St. Marien, Wittenberg
Repository
Evangelische Stadtkirche St. Marien, Wittenberg
Location
Wittenberg
CDA ID
DE_ESKStMW_NONE-ESKStMW001d
FR (1978) Nr.
FR-none
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_ESKStMW_NONE-ESKStMW001d/

Provenance

  • begun in 1547, installed in the church in 1548
    [Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 75, 76]

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015 75-100
EditorJan Harasimowicz, Bettina Seyderhelm
TitleCranachs Kirche. Begleitbuch zur Landesausstellung Sachsen-Anhalt Cranach der Jüngere 2015
Place of PublicationMarkkleeberg
Year of Publication2015

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

Examples of this motif: Lucas Cranach the Elder., 'Die Predigt', woodcut, illustration from Martin Luther's, 'Zehn Gebote', Wittenberg 1529; Hans Cranach 'Der Gottesdienst', woodcut, illustration from Martin Luther's, 'Vaterunser', 1527.

[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 78-80]

Some scholars have identified portraits of Luther's wife Katharina of Bora and Lucas Cranach the Elder among the congregation.

[Zdunczyk, in: Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 81]

  • Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto), 1547 - 1548

Images

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Conservation History

Date1928

In 1928 the Pozzi frame was removed, the separated panels were reunited and a new frame was made. The following inscription was incorporated in a decorative element on the front of the frame 'Einen andern Grund kann niemand legen / außer dem, der gelegt ist, welcher ist / JESUS CHRISTUS'., and on the reverse of the frame the following inscription was added: 'Diese, von Lukas Cranach d. Ä. / gemalten Altarbilder wurden i. J. 1546 fertig / und i. J. 1928 neu gefaßt.' The new frame covered the paintied image to a small extent, e. g. the figure of a young woman listening to Luther preach.

Zdunczyk, in: [Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 96]

Date1811 - 1812

A new architectural frame was designed for the altarpiece in gothic style by Carlo Ignazio Pozzi (1766-1842) while renovstion work was been carried out in the church between 1811/12. At this time the back of the altarpiece was walled up.

Zdunczyk, in: [Harasimowicz, Seyderhelm 2015, 95]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto)', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_ESKStMW_NONE-ESKStMW001d/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Reformation altarpiece [Predella]: The Sermon (recto)', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_ESKStMW_NONE-ESKStMW001d/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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