Cranach and Luther – companions during the Reformation

Erfurt is in the ideal location. A city must be built here. This was the opinion of the great reformer Martin Luther, who studied theology in Erfurt and later made the acquaintance of Cranach in Wittenberg. As well as painting numerous portraits of Luther, Cranach became one of the most influential painters of the German Reformation. He also illustrated several reformatory texts with his prints.

Erfurt Cathedral and St ServerusToday Erfurt has an impressive collection of exceptional paintings by Cranach. Among them is The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine with St. Catherine and Barbara, a panel painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder thought to date from around 1520. It can be found in the northern aisle of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Erfurt and was only incorporated into the baroque altar in 1948.

At the Anger Museum there are twelve works, primarily from the workshop of Cranach the Elder, Cranach the Younger and their contemporaries. Among the most significant is Let the Children Come to Me. The painting was created in around 1537 and features Cranach’s characteristic winged serpent insignia.

It is not only the precious artworks by Cranach that make Erfurt worth visiting however. The Thuringian state capital has one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Germany. The most famous landmarks in the city are the Merchants’ Bridge – the longest bridge in Europe to have houses lining both sides – and the impressive ensemble of St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus. The Protestant Augustinian monastery, in which Martin Luther lived as a monk for five years, is one of the leading Luther sites in Germany today.

Places to visit

St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus – an impressive ensemble of two Catholic churches and a signature attraction in Thuringia’s state capital.

Today the Anger Museum in the baroque palace (Stadtpalast) contains, among other things, the Erfurt art museum with a paintings and porcelain gallery.

Further information on Erfurt in English ...