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From Dürer to Cranach – Art in the Renaissance Era To mark the anniversary of the Reformation, German museums are presenting their key works in Los Angeles

Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer, Portrait of Bernhard
von Reesen, 1521, oil on oak,
18 x 12 2/5 in. (© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister / Elke Estel, Hans-Peter Klut)

The exhibition “Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach” has been showing German masterpieces of the sixteenth century in Los Angeles since Sunday (20.11.16). The exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) takes a fresh look at the age of the Reformation and its historical context.

Painting a multifaceted picture of a key epoch

“The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to experience the greatest achievements of German Renaissance art in Southern California,” exclaims Michael Govan, director of the LACMA, relishing the broad spectrum of exhibits that have arrived from overseas in recent weeks. “We are delighted to be able to present these works to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

To make this exhibition happen, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums), the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Painting Collections) in Munich have sent some of their masterpieces to Los Angeles. Curated in conjunction with the LACMA, the exhibition shows 120 works, presenting a broad spectrum of art from around 1500. Exhibits include important paintings, drawings, sculptures and treasures that paint a multifaceted picture of a key epoch in German history.

Cavalry harness
Peter von Speyer the Elder, Cavalry harness, Annaberg, 1546, helmet, gorget, breastplate, besagues, backplate, cuisses, gauntlets, iron, chased, blackened, etched, iron coat of mail, total weight: 53 lb (24.02 kg). (© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Rüstkammer / Elke Estel, Hans-Peter Klut)

Ornamental weapons as an expression of courtly culture

The age of the Renaissance was shaped by religious, social and political upheaval and hence produced many innovations. The exhibition thus seeks to demonstrate how visual language, themes and the human image changed in Renaissance art. It was important to the LACMA to exhibit not only paintings and drawings by important painters, but also the work of goldsmiths and sculptors in order to provide an insight into the courtly life of the age. This of course includes ornamental weapons.

“Here in America the relationship to pistols is quite different to what we have in the Old World in Germany. I think what we have in the cabinet here will get a lot of attention, just for the calibre alone,” explains Dirk Sydram, director of the arsenal of the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vaults) in Dresden in an interview with Deutschlandradio Kultur. He is responsible for the suits of armour and weapons on display in Los Angeles.

The exhibition “Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach“ was made possible with funding from the Federal Foreign Office. “The Reformation transformed the world order, including the relationship between the citizen and the Church and the state, and the concept of freedom,” explained the Foreign Minister in Berlin, who is also the exhibition’s patron. “Hence the Reformation remains a political mission, including for our foreign policy today!”

The exhibition in Los Angeles is not the only Reformation show to be staged on American soil at the moment – since early October the series “Here I Stand” has been open in New York, Atlanta and Minneapolis. These exhibitions too are showing loans from renowned German museums. All the exhibits will return to Germany in time for the National Special Exhibitions however.

Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach; November 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)


Source:SKD/LACMA/Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Date:21-11-16
Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, Luther, Reformation