i Front page, Martin Luther, Das Newe Testament (Wittenburg: Hans Lufft, 1553), University of Glasgow Library, Glasgow. Annotated by Pastor Michael, active late 16th century, New Bavaria

30 – Words and Images: The Power of Faith in the Age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Course 30

Dr Matthias Vollmer

Summer School – Online
Monday 26 – Friday 30 July 2021
£395

You can still enroll on this course by 17:00 [London], Thursday 22 July. Please email short.courses@courtauld.ac.uk

Course description

The Protestant Reformation caused unprecedented religious upheaval in the history of Western Christianity. The visual arts in particular had to take on a new role. Protestants condemned the cult of veneration through relics and images, rejecting the appeal to emotion and the senses, and promoting the faculty of reason in receiving the Word of God instead. Early on, however, Martin Luther understood that visual displays had great didactic potential for many illiterate contemporaries and he set out to develop a Reformatory iconographic programme which eventually extended to altars, pulpits, galleries, epitaphs and liturgical devices. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) formulated the Catholic Church’s response to the challenge of Protestant Reformation. Every aspect of religious and devotional practice was reviewed, including the agency of art and architecture, and the role of the senses in inciting devotion and compassion became a central issue. In its attempt to win back the faithful, the Catholic Church embraced the sensuous, emphasising that art should be compelling in its narrative.

Lecturer’s biography

Dr Matthias Vollmer is Adjunct Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Programme. He studied art history, philosophy and orientalism at the Freie Universität Berlin and wrote his PhD thesis on medieval book illustration. Matthias teaches interdisciplinary seminars on medieval and Renaissance art, as well as courses on modern art at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Universität der Künste Berlin, the Universität Münster and the Universität Frankfurt. He currently researches the principles of visualisation in art and science.

A messy bible page with red titles, a black image, and lots of handwritten notes.
Front page, Martin Luther, Das Newe Testament (Wittenburg: Hans Lufft, 1553), University of Glasgow Library, Glasgow. Annotated by Pastor Michael, active late 16th century, New Bavaria

Citations