The Depiction of Christ in Protestant Art
|1.||THE BEGINNING OF THE ICONOCLASM||4|
|1.1.||THE REASONS OF THE ICONOCLASM||4|
|1.2.||THE RIOTS IN WITTENBERG||5|
|1.3.||THE INFLUENCE OF THE ICONOCLASM ON THE ART||6|
|2.||THE THEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND AND THE SYMBOLISM OF PROTESTANT ART||8|
|3.||THE DEPICTION OF CHRIST AS THE MAIN SUBJECT IN PROTESTANT ART||11|
|3.1.||DURER AS TRANSITIONAL REFORMATION ARTIST||11|
|3.2.||CRANACH’S WORKS AS LUTHERAN PAINTINGS||12|
Much of the medieval traditions as devotion to Mary were rejected by Luther and his followers. The most obvious element to be removed was the idea that Mary and other saints could serve as intercessors or mediators with God. The intercessory structure found in medieval Catholicism was seen as detrimental to Christ and his role as the sole mediator and savior.
“Mary was used to promote married life against celibacy and the religious life, in that she herself, despite her virginal status, accepted her calling as a wife and mother.” Mary was represented as ideal mother and wife – obedient and faithful. She lost all other of her functions.
In the center of Reformist theology emerged Christ on the cross. The priests of new confession preached against the traditions of corrupted Catholic Church. Art as means of decoration fell into disgrace.
Art, as the field of being the most probably subordinated by power of imagination, was recognized as inadequate in use of church for theological purposes. The iconoclasm took this under its own control and got rid of all imageries that could perform in acts of false idolatry and superstition. The riots ended up in more useless actions of mockery over sacred art then even ritual activities of superstitious believers in the late medieval period. It can be detected that by destroying altarpieces and other pieces of art in churches as “the same injustice done at the Reformation than by the orthodox emperors of early Christianity, who forcibly suppressed the schools of Athens”.
But at the later phase of the formation of Protestantism, it become clear that art can serve higher aim by supporting theological texts and depicting stories of the Bible. But at this moment art lost its freedom. Tradition and imagination was the enemy for inspiration of painter. Instead of hose were used studies of the Scripts and the Acts. Also the new symbolic was introduced by theology.
The Passion of Christ became one of the most popular topics for painters. Jesus sufferings on the cross symbolized redemption of our sins and his blood was the price for it. Human body was not a subject of esthetics, but the means to show our inner world. Christ’s maimed body represented the ugliness of our own souls, deformed by our sins.
Christ was depicted victorious as He won the battle with death, sins and evil. His glorious depictions on the cross served as bright example all Protestants. His life and self-sacrifice was motivation for others to have faith in God and in that way received love from God.