Cranach Altar In Germany Unveiled after Half Century Wait

The famous Cranach Altar (1555) which is located the Weimarer Stadtkirche, Germany has finally been restored to its former glory. The alter is considered a masterpiece of German Reformation-era art and will be unveiled on October 31st; Reformation Day – in a televised church service, Die Welt reports.

The Altar is to be found in Stadtkirche, a Gothic Church which is UNESCO-listed; the alter is regarded as the premier Reformation-era piece from the studio of Lucas Cranach the elder (1472-1553). Two years after his father’s death; the altar was completed by Lucas Cranach the younger (1515-1586).

The church underwent post-war reconstruction between 1948–1953. However, church officials decided to postpone renovating the altar to a later date; due to its complicated nature. That painstaking process of restoring all three of the altar’s wings only started several years ago. Friday will mark the first time in many decades that the altar will be shown in its entirety – according to Heinrich Herbst, superintendent of the city of Weimar. The late Gothic Church was destroyed during the bombing of World War II.

The altar depicts Lucas Cranach the elder with Martin Luther (1483-1546), and emphasises the protestant political affiliations of the region’s ruling princes at the time as well as the members of the congregation. Lucas Cranach the elder is in fact present in the alter’s depiction; The crucified Christ is in the centre of the panel. His figure is repeated on the left side conquering an evil demon. In the background, there is a scene of the Expulsion from Eden, and immediately on the right of Christ, St John the Baptist points one of his fingers at the central figure. Next to the Baptist stands Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Bishop Ilse Junkermann is due to inaugurate the Cranach Altar on behalf of the central German Church of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt – on Friday.

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