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date: 18 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the Protestant Reformation’s impact on visual and material culture. The evangelical reform movements that transformed European religious life during the sixteenth century have generally been associated with iconoclasm. Yet the Reformation is no longer seen as a disaster for art. In Lutheran Germany, where iconoclasm was limited in scope, a rich visual culture emerged that incorporated not only printed propaganda and the well-known paintings of Lucas Cranach and his workshop, but also preserved medieval paintings and sculptures and produced images and artifacts for domestic display and devotion. In other parts of northern Europe iconoclasm provided a stimulus to artistic creation, for both churches and homes. The chapter argues that despite its fetishization of the Word, Protestant life was shaped by images and by the visual. Europe’s Protestant visual cultures were rich and varied, and constituted important elements of confessional consciousness.

Keywords: iconoclasm, images, art, Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach, Germany, Dutch Republic, England

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