In 2017 it will be 500 years since Martin Luther published his 95 theses attacking the trade in indulgences. The act that has gone down in history as the nailing of the theses is considered the beginning of the Reformation and its worldwide consequences. In the USA, the occasion will be marked by three special exhibitions dedicated to the life and works of Martin Luther. Entitled “Here I Stand”, they present superb exhibits on loan from over 30 German institutions in New York, Minneapolis (Minnesota) and Atlanta (Georgia) from October 2016 to January 2017.


Here I stand

Additional information is available at the official website of the exhibition project

Tel. +49 (0) 345 / 29 84 98 89

On a train with … Tomoko Emmerling

Interview with the project manager of the exhibition series “Here I stand“. spoke with the curator about Protestant roots in the USA, Luther’s portable pulpit and the pilot project #HereIstand.


Here I Stand – Martin Luther in the USA

Here I stand, I can do no other.” With these famous words Martin Luther is said to have refused to recant his controversial theses before the emperor. The legendary quotation is the catchword for an exhibition project drawing attention to the forthcoming anniversary of the Reformation and encouraging people to visit the original sites in Germany. All three exhibitions offer the American public the opportunity to immerse themselves in the age of the Reformation and discover Martin Luther’s life and works.

Over 30 institutions from Germany are sending some of their most spectacular exhibits to the USA for the jubilee, including a letter in Luther’s hand to Emperor Charles V, fine portraits of the reformer by Lucas Cranach the Elder, the Gotha panel altar and a wall fountain from Luther’s house in Wittenberg. Most of these exhibits have never been seen outside Germany.

The project is taking place under the patronage of foreign secretary Frank-Walter Steinmeier and involves the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, the Luther Memorials Foundation in Saxony-Anhalt and the Friedenstein Castle Foundation in Gotha under the aegis of the Halle State Museum of Prehistory.

26 other institutions, particularly from the Central German region, are supporting the project with loans. For all them, making their collections accessible in this way represents a unique act – it will be the first time that most of the exhibits have been on display in the USA, or indeed outside of Germany. In this way unique presentations are being created at all three exhibitions, specially tailored to the American partner institutions and their targets audiences.

The exhibitions are accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue complete with a series of essays in German and English.


Word and Image: Martin Luther's Reformation

In the heart of Manhattan, at the Morgan Library & Museum, an exquisite and focussed treasure chamber exhibition is taking place on 7 October 2016. Entitled “Word and Image: Martin Luther’s Reformation”, the special exhibition is dedicated to the events in Martin Luther’s life that would prove to be of special significance for the nascent Reformation. Visitors follow Luther from his nailing his theses to the church door in Wittenberg to the Diet of Worms to his time at Wartburg Castle, where he translated the Bible.

The Morgan Library & Museum

The exhibition examines the Reformation as a media event, shedding light on the various stations of the Reformation and their marketing by Luther’s contemporaries in books, drawings and even in music. Several precious exhibits from museums in Central Germany bring the reformer’s work to life, including important treatises and autograph manuscripts. Over 100 selected works of art, drawings and paintings provide a visual representation of the main arguments.



additional information

The Morgan Library & Museum

Word and Image: Martin Luther´s Reformation

7. Oktober 2016 - 22. Januar 2017

225 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10016

The special exhibition’s particular highlights include the Wittenberger Heiltumsbuch (Wittenberg Relic Book) with its many illustrations of the relic collection of Elector Frederick the Wise, the painting “Christ and Maria” by Lucas Cranach and a letter by Martin Luther to Emperor Charles V reasserting his stance.


Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation

The exhibition “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation”, on show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art from 30 October 2016, is the most extensive of the three “Here I Stand” exhibitions. The focus is not only on Martin Luther’s life and works, but also on the cultural-historical environment of the Reformation in the sixteenth century.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

The living conditions of the reformer and his family are brought to life by archaeological finds from his parents’ house in Mansfeld and the Luther House in Wittenberg. Superb works from Cranach’s workshop, original autographs and expansive works of art reflect the fundamental changes the Reformation ushered in in art, politics, religion and everyday life. 

Without doubt one of the most outstanding works is the Gotha panel altar with its extensive cycle of pictures. This extraordinary, monumental artwork is virtually a giant picture Bible: the panel altar shows three illustrations of the story of creation and 157 panels with scenes from the life of Christ. Further highlights are the green glazed ceramic desk set archaeological excavations discovered in Luther’s garden in Wittenberg, along with a unique disputation lectern from the Baroque period.

additional information

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation

20. Oktober 2016 – 15. Januar 2017

2400 Third Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55404

Gotha panel altar visits the USA

„Here I Stand“: From Thuringia to the USA - next year the sixteenth-century Gotha panel altar will leave the Ducal Museum for the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The special exhibition is taking place at one of the ten largest museums of art in the USA; its location in the Lutheran Midwest and its international reputation mean it is almost predestined to host an exhibition on the anniversary of the Reformation.


Law and Grace: Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation

In Atlanta, at the renowned Pitts Theology Library at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, the focus is on Martin Luther’s theological approach. Entitled “Law and Grace: Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation”, the exhibition centres on the reformatory motif of salvation “Law and Grace” by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Several printed works and selected exhibits from the four cooperating German museums show the main thrust of Luther’s reform: the concept of man’s salvation by God’s grace alone.

Pitts Theology Library

The outstanding exhibit is the painting “Law and Grace” by Lucas Cranach, showing the contrasting Lutheran concepts of law and the Gospel, i.e. the Old and the New Testament. The two-part painting illustrates how man is lost under the law via biblical motifs from the Old Testament. This is contrasted on the right-hand side of the painting by God’s grace, which can only be obtained through faith.

Further highlights of the exhibition are a guard’s pike from the palace guard of Ferdinand (1502–1564), the brother of Charles V, and a wall fountain from the Luther House in Wittenberg that was uncovered by archaeological excavations in the house’s garden. 

additional information

Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Law and Grace: Martin Luther, Lucas Cranach and the Promise of Salvation

1. Oktober 2016 - 15. Januar 2017

1531 Dickey Drive

Atlanta, GA 30322

Lucas Cranach the Elder

The painter Lucas Cranach from Kronach was a close friend of Martin Luther. He was his best man, as well as the godfather of his first son, Johannes Luther.


#HereIstand. Martin Luther, the Reformation and its consequences

While “Here I Stand” is being shown in the USA, the digital exhibition “#HereIstand. Martin Luther, the Reformation and its Consequences”.  This particular exhibition can be viewed and used in digital form on the internet as well as offline in the form of 30 downloadable posters.

Using modern infographics, the exhibition shows and explains the most important stations in the history of the Reformation and the impact that can still be felt today. Martin Luther’s biography forms the point of departure for an investigation of the environment the people of the Reformation lived in. The exhibition then takes a look at the reformatory dynamics that took hold after Luther published his 95 theses, examining central questions of Reformation history. What was new about Luther’s theology? What happened in Wittenberg in 1517? How did the new doctrine spread?

The period between 1520 and 1530 was a time of upheaval, including for gender roles. Today it is often forgotten that women played a role in the Reformation. A further focus of the exhibition examines the spread of Protestantism in the USA. The exhibition also considers what the civil rights leader Martin Luther King has in common with his namesake, the German reformer Martin Luther.

Preview of the poster exhibition
Preview of the poster exhibition

A particular highlight of the exhibition is its 3D museum pieces, which can be viewed online or, like the posters, can be downloaded and printed on a 3D printer. This offer is open to interested parties and institutions worldwide, providing them with an economical and simple way to create their own exhibitions on the anniversary of the Reformation for use in school, extracurricular or Church education.

Initiators and benefactors