Head of Martin Luther, Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586).

Oil on panel, 49.5cm by 39.5cm.

The portrait bears a signature with the winged serpent and date 1546.

Martin Luther (1492-1546) was a German monk and theologian, ordained as a priest in 1507 and within ten years, the first to openly reject the teachings and tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.

In particular he rejected the practice of indulgences, which he discussed in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517.

He was excommunicated by Pope Leo X and outlawed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V after refusing to renounce his writings.

This led ultimately to the Reformation in Europe; the gradual fracturing of the new Protestant religion into various factions and centuries of religious turmoil.

Lucas Cranach the Younger was an apprentice in the studio of his artist father Lucas Cranach the Elder, who was a close friend of Martin Luther, and an artistic propagandist for the new Protestant religion.

His son, a successful businessman, eventually took over the running of the thriving family workshop, and painted amongst others, a number of portraits of Luther and several of the other religious reformers.


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