The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship ~ Martin Luther
The capstone exhibition of National Archives Month 2016 for this region is undeniably the Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation exhibition opening the end of the month at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The exhibition features newly excavated objects that depict aspects of Luther’s personal life as well as Reformation and post-Reformation art. The Luther exhibit is traveling in this country for the first time. This commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses offers a once-in-a-millennium learning experience for this community.
Focus of the exhibition is Luther’s support of art as a tool for worship, teaching and propaganda. Of particular note are the paintings of Lucas Cranach the Elder who was inspired by Luther’s preaching to develop didactic and narrative paintings. In addition to paintings the exhibit offers numerous historical objects including sculpture, gold, textiles and works on paper, this last of particular note in light of Luther’s use of the newly invented printing press to share the written word.
Another aspect of the exhibition is representation of Luther’s personal life. The exhibition features archeological finds such as household goods and items found in his homes and studio; artifacts include original furnishings and precious gold and silver objects. The exhibition will also share examples of rarely seen 16th Century editions and a selection of 16th Century publications that offer insight into Luther’s intolerance of corruption and his concern for women.
The Martin Luther: Art and the Reform exhibition opens on Sunday, October 30. The opening day lecture explores “Learning about Martin Luther: How Archaeology Changed the Picture of the Reformer.” (2:00 p.m.) Additional lectures throughout the exhibition:
- Martin Luther Art and the Reformation (Thursday, November 3, 6:30 p.m.)
- An Artist during Times of Change: Lucas Cranach between Court, Church and Reform (Sunday, November 20, 2:00 p.m.)
- Art Illuminating Human Rights: Muslim in Minnesota (Thursday, December 1, 6:30 pm)
- Martin Luther’s Reformation impact on Nordic Europe: Finland and its evolution to independence in 1917 (January 14, 2:00 p.m.)
In conjunction with the MIA exhibition the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota is sponsoring a robust series of programs. The series begins Wednesday, October 12, 7:30 p.m. with an introductory lecture by Thomas Rassieur, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This will be followed by a second lecture by Andrew Pettegree, University of St. Andrews (Scotland) who will discuss “Martin Luther, the Reformation and the Making of a media Phenomenon” and a student tour of the exhibition itself. (https://cla.umn.edu/austrian/news-events/announcement/cas-special-programming-mias-exhibit-martin-luther)
Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation will remain on exhibit at MIA through January 15. More information and updates may be found here: http://new.artsmia.org/luther/