Bible stories across faiths. How one artist survived the Reformation and designed Bible illustrations for school boys, cardinal, and king.
Painter-printmaker Sebald Beham (1500-1550) re-created his professional life after his expulsion from Nuremberg in 1525 as a “godless painter” about the time the town council adopted the evangelical religion. In Frankfurt am Main, his new home beginning 1531, Beham designed illustrations of Bible stories for books printed by humanist Christian Egenolff (1502-1555). Title page illustrations indicate patrons across Catholic, Protestant, and evangelical lines, from Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg to King Henry VIII and schoolboys. Beham’s illustrations underscore unified imagery across confessional lines and raise questions concerning differing meanings and geographies for these images printed during the early Reformation.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Matthias Gerung’s Protestant and Catholic Title Page Designs
Painter Matthias Gerung (c. 1500-1569/70) designed woodcut title pages that raise questions about working conditions for artists in a world divided by faith. Gerung’s designs introduce books from princely presses founded by the Protestant future Elector Palatine Ottheinrich in 1545 and the Catholic Cardinal of Augsburg Otto Truchsess von Waldburg in 1555. Each had established a press in order to spread what he considered the one true religion—his own. Gerung’s title pages reveal how closely he followed his patrons’ detailed instructions, illuminating the deep split between German Protestants and Catholics and its effect on artists.
This scholarly program is free and open to all. The format is not a lecture, but discussion of precirculated papers. To request a copy of the papers, please email Mary N. Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.