April 2017

This special issue brings together historians and art historians to explore the ways in which religious art was transformed by the splintering of Western Christendom that began 500 years ago with Martin Luther’s Reformation. The religious turmoil of the sixteenth century has long been seen as a turning point in the history of Christian art. The essays presented here focus not on destruction – on iconoclasm – but on the myriad ways in which both Protestant and Catholic reform stimulated the production of sacred art. The special issue examines the nature of images created in Germany in the early years of the evangelical movement, asking how both theologians and artists responded to a new understanding of Christian history and salvation. It then traces the rich and diverse Protestant visual cultures that developed in the confessional age, and explores the variety of Catholic responses to pressure for reform.