The visual arts have held a precarious position in the Lutheran church since the Reformation. Liturgical art was banned in most Lutheran churches and the patronage of art became primarily secular. Luther never wrote much about art, though he did not support the destruction of images that took place in the early days of the Reformation. Luther did work with his close friend Lucas Cranach to have his writings illustrated and his own portrait exhibited across Europe in prints and paintings. He also appeared in several Cranach altarpieces shortly after he died.
For the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Bethany Lutheran College Art Department invited 26 artists, two filmmakers and three writers to celebrate with works of paintings, prints, drawings, photography, ceramics, video and writings. Some of the artists are faculty members at Bethany Lutheran College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, or Martin Luther College. The other artists are alumni from these schools.
An alternate title for the show could be, “Lutherans Make Art”!
This exhibition is on display in the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, from October 1 until November 22, 2017. A gallery talk on “Luther, Vocation and the Arts” is scheduled for October 26, at 7:00 pm. Viewing artwork "in person" is always more satisfying than viewing images on a computer screen. But for those who cannot come to Mankato, we offer the Reformation Art Show as follows.
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Charis Charmichael Braun
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