Lucas Cranach the Elder: Art and Devotion of the German Reformation

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Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) is the most influential painter of the German Reformation. In collaboration with Martin Luther (1483-1546), Cranach produced innovative paintings which made the complex ideas of Lutheran Christianity understandable to a wide range of viewers and inspired later generations of artists. Despite Cranach's crucial role as an interpreter of Lutheran ideas, his Reformation paintings remain unfamiliar to many American scholars. Lucas Cranach the Elder: Art and Devotion of the German Reformation presents Cranach's Reformation painting to a broader audience and explains the pictorial strategies Cranach devised to clarify and interpret Lutheran thought. For specialists in Reformation history, this study offers an interpretation of Cranach's art as an agent of religious change. For historians and students of Renaissance art, this study explores the defining work of a major sixteenth-century artist. The broad implications of the Reformation and Cranach's role in transforming religious art make this study suitable for readers with a general interest in history, religion, or art history.

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Editorial Reviews

Lutheran Quarterly
This study is remarkable for its attention to detail throughout. Developed from Noble's dissertation, it provides extensive documentation of German scholarship on Cranach and the Reformation period. In addition, because the book was originally a dissertation, Noble meticulously attends to the respects in which her arguments differ from those of her predecessors, thus bringing a more contemporary and art historical approach. ... This is an excellent book for every Reformation historian to read. It offers a cogent argument for broadening one's perceptions of the way in which believers were instructed and shaped in the ways of Lutheran theology and practice... Noble's analysis is sophisticated for she understands well that many and varied factors played a role in how religious images were sought, created, placed, and perceived. She raises many fascinating questions and provides a well-developed approach for beginning to engage them.
Anonymous Reader
Perhaps the text's greatest virtue is its relative uniqueness within the English language scholarship. The paintings and subjects included within the book have all been discussed at great length within the German scholarship. Dr. Noble usefully pulls this material together and summarizes it cogently. This is a real plus since there is so little than once can send students, especially undergraduate students, to read on Cranach's later art… In each chapter, she offers her won readings, which modify or amplify other interpretations. Also within the German literature, it is difficult finding a single voice or adept narrator who discusses all of these works. The consistency of Dr. Noble's voice or text is admirable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761843382
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 4/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie J. Noble received her B.A. in the history and literature of Religion from Northwestern University, her M.A. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Ph.D. in Art History from Northwestern University. She teaches Art History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 1. Law and Gospel and the Strategies of Pictorial Rhetoric Chapter 2 2. The Schneeberg Altarpiece and the Structure of Worship Chapter 3 3. The Wittenberg Altarpiece: Communal Devotion and Identity Chapter 4 4. Holy Visions and Pious Testimony: Weimar Altarpiece Chapter 5 5. Public Worship to Private Devotion: Cranach's Reformation Madonna Panels

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