In 2015, Thuringia commemorates perhaps the most important pictorial chroniclers of the Reformation, Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) and his son, Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515–1586). To mark the occasion, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar will present the exhibition "Cranach in Weimar" at the Schiller Museum from 3 April to 14 June 2015. Remarkable both in terms of its form and size, the presentation illustrates the life, work and impact of these masters who crossed the threshold from the Middle Ages to modern times.
The exhibition is divided into four interconnected, theme-based sections. The first, titled ´Work and Artist´ links Cranach’s outstanding group of works, e.g. those dealing with the subject of "Law and Mercy", with Weimar as the last place where both father and son worked together. The section, ´Faith and Reformer´, investigates how Cranach’s workshop served the goals of the Reformation and its protagonists. The exhibition demonstrates how Reform-based artistic strategies were incorporated into the portraits of the Reformers and how motifs, such as "Christ and the Adulteress", were used to disseminate and strengthen the new doctrines of the Reformation. The following section, titled ´Message and Patron´, sheds light on Cranach’s work at court and his commissioned task to artistically represent Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous. The section examines Johann Friedrich’s court and household, his fight on the side of the Schmalkaldic League in 1547, which ended in defeat, imprisonment, loss of his electoral dignity and forfeiture of large parts of his territory. Upon relocating his court in Weimar, we see that a number of Cranach’s works make reference to this "new beginning", as well as Johann Friedrich’s and his sons’ (unsuccessful) efforts to regain the political clout they had lost. The last section, ´Reception and Viewer´, features a series of narratives which shed light on the historical influence of the Cranach workshop – from the rediscover of works by Cranach in Goethe’s circle of contemporaries to their reception in Weimar in the 20th century.
In addition to important works from the extensive holdings of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the exhibition will also display a number of outstanding masterpieces on loan from world-famous museums, such the Museo del Prado in Madrid, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. By combining significant artworks with multimedia presentation concepts, the exhibition aims to attract Cranach experts, culturally and theologically interested audiences, and those who might be familiar with Cranach only by name.
The Klassik Stiftung Weimar is proud to present "Cranach in Weimar" as a central contribution to the Thuringian theme year "Picture and Message". The exhibition is being coordinated with the Wartburg-Stiftung Eisenach and the Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha in cooperation with Lutheran Church of Weimar, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH and the municipal cooperative project "In the Footsteps of Cranach".
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