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Gotha panel altar visits the USA

For the very first time, valuable exhibits on Martin Luther and his era will be on show in the United States of America.

Dismantling of the Gotha panel altar
The precious loan was dismantled on Monday (7.12.15) in the Museum’s Old German hall (Image: © Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha / Carola Schüren)

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 precious loan was dismantled on Monday (7.12.15) in the Museum’s Old German hall and will return to the Thuringian museum after next year’s exhibition.

Exhibits give an impression of the Reformation era

“Here I stand and can do no other” – these words attributed to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms form the title of three exhibitions to be held in the USA next year. The archaeological finds, authentic realia, works of art, manuscripts and prints constituting “Here I Stand – Luther Exhibitions USA 2016” in Minneapolis will present a comprehensive picture of Luther’s life and work and provide an insight into the time of the Reformation.

The Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein (Friedenstein Castle Foundation) is providing a special showpiece: the renowned Gotha panel altar from 1539–1541 from the workshop of Heinrich Füllmaurer (ca. 1500–1548) should prove a special treat for American visitors.  

This altar was made by the Württemberg master around 1540. Some 160 panels functioned as an illustrated bible for both the literate scholar and the common man. In words and pictures they relate the life and work of Jesus Christ, whereby all the saints are missing their halos and the devil figures are dressed in monks’ habits. Together with its lines from Luther’s Bible the altar can thus be considered a propaganda piece for the Protestant faith. 

Gotha panel altar
The sixteenth-century Gotha panel altar (Image: © Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha / Lutz Ebhardt)

Animation in Gotha

During the exhibition in the USA the panel altar will be presented in animated form on a multimedia platform. The Foundation says that until 2017 its place will be taken in the Ducal Museum by a pre-1500 carved altarpiece by Anna Selbdritt. The work shows Saint Anne, her daughter Mary and the infant Jesus.

The exhibition, marking the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, is supported not only by the Gotha Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein but also by the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) in Berlin, the State Museum for Prehistory in Halle and the Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony Anhalt. The project is financed by the Federal Foreign Office.


Source:epd Date:07-12-15
Here I Stand, Gotha, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Exhibition, Germany, USA

Here I stand – Luther in America