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Was the Reformation, 500 years ago, a cross-media event? Was Luther really the first one to speak a „word of command”? Are images still as powerful as they used to be in the 16th century? You want to know all this? Then you have come to the right place!

During the theme year „Reformation – Image and Bible” your questions will be answered – as long as you visit museums, go to city festivals, participate in conferences, meet researchers, listen to experts, satiate your hunger for knowledge.

360-degree-communication and cross-media strategy

All of this is happening in an era that hardly falls behind the whirlwind of change during the 16th century. Today, we are also both the protagonists and the witnesses of a massive media revolution. At that time it was the picture that had become the “must-have product” (with the Cranach family as its manufacturers), today it is the screen in all sizes. Those who want to get hold of an audience command the entire range of expression; they talk about 260-degree-communication and cross-media strategy.

On October 31st, 1517, Martin Luther issued 95 theses against the abuse of indulgence. The famous posting of Luther's theses is considered to have been the beginning of the Reformation. At the same time, a new media era dawned: Gutenberg's invention of letterpress printing opened new means of communication. It was the onset of the first media revolution, and the general public gained access to the doctrine of the Reformation.

Flysheets were written, and illustrated with pictures and woodcuts, mass-produced in the Cranach workshop in Wittenberg. The theme year 2015 “Reformation – Image and Bible” especially acknowledges Lucas Cranach the Younger, whose 500th birthday will be celebrated on October 4th, 2015. The story is told by various exhibitions, including those in the Luther City of Wittenberg, Eisenach, and Coburg.

A new language, new words

„Luther's language, in its noble, almost miraculous clarity, must be esteemed as both the core and the foundation of the standard of the New High German language”, said Jacob Grimm in 1822. In 1521, Luther began to translate the Bible on the Wartburg. In order to enable a translation that was to be understood by all people who spoke the German tongue, he invented new words, for example „Lückenbüßer” (stopgap) and „Machtwort (word of command). He also tried to introduce a uniform spelling.

The first pan-German Bible was printed in 1534 in Wittenberg. It was rapidly disseminated, due to its enormous print run, offering access to language, communication and the media for the first time to people from lower levels of education – and these issues are exactly the same that are also covered during the theme year 2015 “Reformation – Image and Bible”.

Martin Luther's achievements would have been impossible without the protection and the support of the Saxonian Electors. During the theme year, the first national special exhibition „Luther and the Princes” at Castle Hartenfels in Torgau highlights the exciting relationship between the Reformers and the German high nobility.

1. National Special Exhibition on “Luther and the Princes”

Cranach the Younger – State Exhibition Saxony-Anhalt

Images and the Bible