The Reformation of the Image

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9780226448374: The Reformation of the Image
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Martin Luther preached the radical notion that we are saved through faith alone. With one stroke, he overturned a thousand years of practice and teaching. Gone was the need for saintly intercessors and a special priesthood or the richly decorated and image-filled churches in which such mediation could take place. What counted now was faith arriving inwardly, in each individual, through the text of the Bible—the naked Word of God itself.

But if words—not iconic images—led the believer to salvation, why didn’t religious imagery disappear during the Reformation?  The answer, according to Joseph Leo Koerner’s masterful The Reformation of the Image, lies in the paradoxical nature of Protestant religious imagery itself, which is at once both iconic and iconoclastic. According to Koerner, it is this “iconoclash” that characterizes Reformation art. The Reformation of the Image compellingly shows how visual art became indispensable to a religious movement built on words.  It also reveals in Protestant images a powerful instance of modern disenchantment:  the disappearance of magic both from images and from the world.

“Unfailingly arresting and inventive . . . it is a long time since a work of art history has kept me so consistently reaching for a pencil to register ardent appreciation or violent dissent.”—Eamon Duffy, London Review of Books

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With his 95 Theses, Martin Luther advanced the radical notion that all Christians could enjoy a direct, personal relationship with God—shattering years of Catholic tradition and obviating the need for intermediaries like priests and saints between the individual believer and God. The text of the Bible, the Word of God itself, Luther argued, revealed the only true path to salvation—not priestly ritual and saintly iconography.

But if words—not iconic images—showed the way to salvation, why didn't religious imagery during the Reformation disappear along with indulgences? The answer, according to Joseph Leo Koerner, lies in the paradoxical nature of Protestant religious imagery itself, which is at once both iconic and iconoclastic. Koerner masterfully demonstrates this point not only with a multitude of Lutheran images, many never before published, but also with a close reading of a single pivotal work—Lucas Cranach the Elder's altarpiece for the City Church in Wittenberg (Luther's parish). As Koerner shows, Cranach, breaking all the conventions of traditional Catholic iconography, created an entirely new aesthetic for the new Protestant ethos.

In the Crucifixion scene of the altarpiece, for instance, Christ is alone and stripped of all his usual attendants—no Virgin Mary, no John the Baptist, no Mary Magdalene—with nothing separating him from Luther (preaching the Word) and his parishioners. And while the Holy Spirit is nowhere to be seen—representation of the divine being impossible—it is nonetheless dramatically present as the force animating Christ's drapery. According to Koerner, it is this "iconoclash" that animates the best Reformation art.

Insightful and breathtakingly original, The Reformation of the Image compellingly shows how visual art became indispensable to a religious movement built on words.

About the Author:

Joseph Leo Koerneris the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. His books include The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art and TheReformation of the Image, copublished by Reaktion Books and the University of Chicago Press. In 1995 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Martin Luther preached the radical notion that we are saved through faith alone. With one stroke, he overturned a thousand years of practice and teaching. Gone was the need for saintly intercessors and a special priesthood or the richly decorated and image-filled churches in which such mediation could take place. What counted now was faith arriving inwardly, in each individual, through the text of the Bible - the naked Word of God itself. But if words - not iconic images - led the believer to salvation, why didn t religious imagery disappear during the Reformation? The answer, according to Joseph Leo Koerner s masterful The Reformation of the Image , lies in the paradoxical nature of Protestant religious imagery itself, which is at once both iconic and iconoclastic. According to Koerner, it is this iconoclash that characterizes Reformation art. The Reformation of the Image compellingly shows how visual art became indispensable to a religious movement built on words. It also reveals in Protestant images a powerful instance of modern disenchantment: the disappearance of magic both from images and from the world. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226448374

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Martin Luther preached the radical notion that we are saved through faith alone. With one stroke, he overturned a thousand years of practice and teaching. Gone was the need for saintly intercessors and a special priesthood or the richly decorated and image-filled churches in which such mediation could take place. What counted now was faith arriving inwardly, in each individual, through the text of the Bible - the naked Word of God itself. But if words - not iconic images - led the believer to salvation, why didn t religious imagery disappear during the Reformation? The answer, according to Joseph Leo Koerner s masterful The Reformation of the Image , lies in the paradoxical nature of Protestant religious imagery itself, which is at once both iconic and iconoclastic. According to Koerner, it is this iconoclash that characterizes Reformation art. The Reformation of the Image compellingly shows how visual art became indispensable to a religious movement built on words. It also reveals in Protestant images a powerful instance of modern disenchantment: the disappearance of magic both from images and from the world. Seller Inventory # AAS9780226448374

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Martin Luther preached the radical notion that we are saved through faith alone. With one stroke, he overturned a thousand years of practice and teaching. Gone was the need for saintly intercessors and a special priesthood or the richly decorated and image-filled churches in which such mediation could take place. What counted now was faith arriving inwardly, in each individual, through the text of the Bible - the naked Word of God itself. But if words - not iconic images - led the believer to salvation, why didn t religious imagery disappear during the Reformation? The answer, according to Joseph Leo Koerner s masterful The Reformation of the Image , lies in the paradoxical nature of Protestant religious imagery itself, which is at once both iconic and iconoclastic. According to Koerner, it is this iconoclash that characterizes Reformation art. The Reformation of the Image compellingly shows how visual art became indispensable to a religious movement built on words. It also reveals in Protestant images a powerful instance of modern disenchantment: the disappearance of magic both from images and from the world. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226448374

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