(b. 1505, Augsburg, d. ca. 1546)

Portrait Sketch of the Dead Martin Luther

Pen drawing
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Lukas Furtenagel was a German painter, member of a family of artists active in Augsburg in the sixteenth century. He worked in the circle of Hans Burgkmair in Augsburg and Halle between 1542 and 1546. Among the rare paintings attributed to him the most famous is the Portrait of Hans Burgkmair and his Wife Anna before a Mirror (1529, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

Martin Luther died on 18 February 1546 in Eisleben. Within hours of his death two artists made portraits of him, the first, an unnamed man from Eisleben, found Luther still lying on his bed. By the time the second artist, Lukas Furtenagel, arrived he had already been placed in his coffin. Furtenagel clearly painted the deceased twice, in the late afternoon of the 18th and again on the 19th. On the basis of these authentic portraits of the dead man, of which only one pen drawing attributed to Furtenagel has survived, a mass-production industry was rapidly launched: more than a dozen paintings as well as engravings and woodcuts were used to publish on a grand scale the image of Luther in death.