Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach


Masterpieces from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, on show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

To mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, Germany's three largest museum entities – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich – present key works of German 16th-century art, in a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The exhibition is on view from November 20, 2016 through March 26, 2017.

The exhibition Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach aims to use important artworks as a prism through which to take a fresh look at the Reformation and its historical context. In a joint statement, the directors-general of the three collections, Michael Eissenhauer (Berlin), Hartwig Fischer Dresden), and Bernhard Maaz (Munich) announced: "The art of this epoch stands as one of the most important chapters in the history of German and European art and culture. Our primary goal and great pleasure are to present it on the other side of the Atlantic."

The diverse array of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and precious objects creates a multifaceted portrait of this pivotal epoch in history. On show are masterworks by Dürer, Cranach, Holbein, Riemenschneider, and Grünewald.
The exhibition promises to shed light on the religious, social, and political upheavals of the time. The organizers thus hope the show will have broad appeal and trigger the curiosity of visitors who may have little prior knowledge of the events and art of this period.

"This exhibition presents a unique opportunity for audiences in Southern California to view some of the greatest achievements of German Renaissance art," said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. "We are pleased to showcase these works on the occasion of the Reformation's 500th anniversary."
Since its inception in 1965 LACMA's mission has been to build up a collection of art with both a historical and geographical arch, but which also represents the uniquely diverse population of the city of Los Angeles. LACMA is now the largest art museum on the West Coast, boasting an encyclopedic collection of more than 120,000 objects, ranging in date from antiquity to the present and in origin from all over the world, thus spanning almost all periods in the history of art.

The exhibition has been made possible with the support of the German Foreign Office and is being held under the auspices of the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In a statement issued in Berlin, Mr. Steinmeier said:

"The Reformation decisively changed the then world order, as well as the relationship between citizen, state, and Church and the common understanding of freedom. The Reformation not only challenged the Church, it presented politics with demands that remain valid today. Martin Luther demands that one stands up for one's own beliefs, intervenes, assumes responsibility, and works towards reconciliation and dialogue. In this way, the anniversary celebrations of the Reformation play a part in shaping politics today, including our foreign cultural policy! I wish to thank the state collections in Berlin, Dresden, and Munich for their excellent collaboration and I hope that as many visitors as possible see the exhibition 'Renaissance and Reformation'."