CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Passional Christi und Antichristi

Woodcut, 200 x 140 mm
British Library, London

Working together, Philipp Melanchthon and Johann Schwertfeger, a Greek scholar and jurist at the University of Wittenberg, conceived the first illustrated polemical book of the Reformation in just a few months. Martin Luther was kept informed but not involved with the editorial work. The Passional follows traditional interpretations of the Scriptures in the way it uses matching or corresponding pairs of motifs. Thus on the double page, shown here, Christ appears on the left wearing the Crown of Thorns and being mocked, and on the right the Pope receives the tiara and accepts the homages of the bishops and abbots.

Lucas Cranach the Elder executed 26 woodcuts and a cover woodcut for this book.