CRANACH, Lucas the Younger
(b. 1515, Wittenberg, d. 1586, Weimar)

Portrait of Martin Luther

Oil on panel, 62 x 49 cm
Private collection

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of the most eminent German theologians behind the protest movement that shook the Church in the 16th century. An Augustine monk and a doctor in theology, he was awarded the chair of Holy Scriptures at the University of Wittenberg. He protested against the trafficking of indulgences, recognised by the Catholic Church, and published his 95 Theses, considered as the starting point of the Reformation.

The present portrait shows the characteristics of 16th-century German portrait painting: a clear and pronounced stroke, an attractive and neutral background and the use of uniform light.

The painting is signed with a dragon and dated 1546.