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Luther exhibitions in the USA

Three major exhibitions in the USA showcase the life and work of Martin Luther.

© dpa/akg-images - Martin Luther

“Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me, Amen!”. This is what Martin Luther is alleged to have said, making a stand against the refutation of his theses and in favour of freedom of conscience. Ultimately, the Protestant Church emerged as a result of this contradiction, for Luther had published his 95 Theses on 31 October 1517, in which he opposed the selling of indulgences, corruption and the abuse of power, and thus also took up an adverse stance against the Pope. “Here I stand…” is therefore the title of an unusual project that pays tribute to Martin Luther and the anniversary of the Reformation with a series of exhibitions in the USA.

Wittenberg, Worms, Wartburg

The Morgan Library & Museum in New York will be presenting an exhibition that is akin to a treasure chamber. Its main focus will be on the events in the life of Martin Luther that were of significance to the incipient Reformation. The visitor follows Luther, from the attack on his Theses via the Reichstag to Worms, the translation of the Bible on the Wartburg and on to his work in Wittenberg. Numerous autographs and important manuscripts provide an illuminating view of the reformer’s work.

Shedding light above all on the cultural historical backdrop to the Reformation in the 16th century, the most extensive exhibition will be on show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. With the aid of archaeological finds from Luther’s family home in Mansfeld and the Lutherhaus in Wittenberg, the circumstances in which the reformer and his family lived are made palpable.

A special exhibition is also being created at the Pitts Theology Library of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University Atlanta. It will be focusing on Lucas Cranach’s reformatory painting “Law and Grace”, explaining its iconography and as such the key point of Luther’s reform: the idea that man can be redeemed solely by the grace of God.

The exhibitions in New York, Minneapolis and Atlanta complement one another and shed light on all the different facets and impacts of Martin Luther’s life and work right up to the present day.

At the same time, the project #HereIStand is available as a digital exhibition that anyone can access and order worldwide. It shows the most important stages of the history of the Reformation and its effects. Ingeniously, the original exhibits can also be printed out using a 3D printer.

In addition, from 20 November 2016 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will be showing the exhibition “Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach”. Important works of art from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München will be presented to shed new light on the Reformation and the period in which it took place. Among other things, the exhibition will show masterpieces by Dürer, Cranach, Holbein, Riemenschneider and Grünewald, thereby giving an insight into the religious, social and political upheavals of the time.

The Luther exhibition at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York opens on 7 October 2016