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The Luther Effect, Printmaking, and the Arts

Renaissance Society of America
Chicago (March 30 – April 1, 2017)

Lucas Cranach the Elder opened his 1509 book on Saxon Elector Friedrich the Wise’s famed reliquary collection with a woodcut of the Wittenberg Schlosskirche. Eight years later, its portal is where Martin Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses against Catholic excesses such as the sale of indulgences, liturgical sartorial opulence, and the hoarding of the very relics the church contained. The 95 Theses soon circulated as a printed document, becoming one of the most influential letterpress broadsides issued from a press, and ushering in the Protestant Reformation.
In honor of this momentous 500th anniversary, we propose a session on the ways Luther’s declaration and the mode of its distribution affected artists and artisans in all media around 1517, especially those with connections to the Saxon court. Papers on printmakers and publishers are particularly welcome, as well as others comparing the paper record with extant examples of the lavish church clothing and ritual decorative arts that Luther rebelled against.
A copy of Cranach’s Wittenberger Heiligthumsbuch will be on display at the Art Institute of Chicago during the conference.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 150 words and a short one-page c.v. by Wednesday, May 25, 2016, to: Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Art Institute of Chicago, and Freyda Spira, Metropolitan Museum of Art,

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