It’s not only a burning question of the present. People of the distant past, too, faced the new and unfamiliar with curiosity, confidence or growing fear.
In the 16th century, contemporaries of Martin Luther and Christoph Columbus were put under tremendous pressure to change. The developing awareness of a “new world” in the west destabilized Europeans’ existing world-view. Because of Luther and other leading figures of the Protestant Reformation, Christians were now faced with alternatives in belief and confronted with existential decisions about right and wrong in their own lives.
On the occasion of the Reformation anniversary, the exhibition “Luther, Kolumbus und die Folgen” juxtaposes dramatic changes and new ideas that left contemporaries torn between paradise and apocalypse. The great objects on exhibit will testify to the inner conflict between expectations of great fortune and fear of absolute disaster. A massive water-spouting Satan from the façade of Cologne Cathedral, Christoph Columbus’ personal weather-forecasts, the first European image of an American Indian – these and many other exhibits are waiting to be explored.
Map of the „New World“, Sebastian Münster, 1544, Landesbibliothek Eutin
Two lizards (lifecasts), circle of Wenzel Jamnitzer, ca. 1540/50, Germanisches Nationalmuseum
Aztecan chief, Christoph Weiditz, ca. 1530/40, Germanisches Nationalmuseum
Winter landscape, Jacob Grimmer, 1577, Szépmüvészeti Múzeum Budapest