The Luther Decade and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation mark one of the greatest revolutions to have ever occurred in German and European history. The Reformation not only altered the religious landscape of Europe; it also changed the political map, decisively influencing developments in politics, culture, education, the structure of society and the care of the poor. A full understanding of the achievements of the Reformation must take into account not only its effect on theology and the church but also its crucial influence on the German nobility. The doctrine and personal influence of the reformers, especially Martin Luther, changed the way the nobility saw and portrayed themselves.
Come and visit Torgau to celebrate the Reformation's anniversary
Luther himself made over 40 recorded visits to Torgau, the seat of the Elector of Saxony. He held personal discussions with George Spalatin, court chaplain and secretary, and with the elector himself, but that was not all that brought him here. It was in Torgau where the principles of parish visitations within the Protestant system were first worked out under Luther’s direction, in 1527. And it was in 1530, that Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Justus Jonas and Johannes Bugenhagen drafted the Torgau Articles, which were incorporated into the Augsburg Confession later that year. To celebrate the special anniversary of 500 years of Reformation, the 1st National Sepcial Exhibition will be set up in Torgau.
Renaissance, Residence and Reformation in Torgau
The picturesque Renaissance town of Torgau on the Elbe, with its castle, Schloss Hartenfels, was the political centre of the Reformation. Martin Luther preached here and consecrated the castle chapel as one of the very first new Protestant church buildings. It was here, in 1552, that his wife, Katharina, died; she is buried in the town’s parish church of St. Marien. Once the residence of the electors of Saxony, Torgau is the authentic setting for the 1st National Special Exhibition to commemorate the Reformation.
Schloss Hartenfels in Torgau, one of the central hubs of the Reformation, is the ideal place in which to unfold the multi-facetted theme of the exhibition "Luther and the Princes". Torgau was backdrop of many crucial political events in Reformation history. It was here that the League of Torgau was ratified (1526), the initial draft of the Formula of Concord was drawn up (1577), and the Protestant Union of Torgau was formed (1591). The Electoral Chancellery and the building of the Torgau church superintendent provide the settings for other parts of the exhibition.
Luther and the Princes - The public portrayal and self-image of Rulers in the Age of Reformation
With over 200 artworks from museums in Germany and abroad, the exhibition features a wide spectrum of artefacts that span from the Electorate of Saxony, birthplace of Lutheran teachings, and the reformed Electoral Palatinate, to anti-Reformation Bavaria and the Imperial court itself, whose hegemony was put in question by the reformers. It becomes clear how Luther’s Theses and other writings, critical of church and society, became a political issue throughout the whole of the Holy Roman Empire. Highlights include magnificent works by the two Cranachs, Elder and Younger, the splendid mitre of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, the signet ring of Martin Luther and the ceremonial sword and armour of the electors of Saxony. For the first time these works are placed in a broader context than that of individual electoral principalities, and are thus opened up to fresh evaluation.
You are invited to celebrate the Reformation jubilee in Germany, so start planning your group tour to Torgau now. This tour could also be planned in combination of Torgau with Dresden or Leipzig. The link will direct you to our varied tour suggestions. A little reminder: the exhibition "Luther and the Princes" from 15 May to 31 October 2015 will only be the first of more upcoming special exhibitions focusing on Luther and the Reformation and Torgau as their location. We will keep you informed about the plans for 2016 and 2017 and are looking forward to your requests of a cultural group tour to Torgau and its surroundings.
Please feel free to download the formal broschure about the 1st National Special exhibition "Luther and the Princes" in Torgau:
The exhibition and mentioned information above were organized by the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in cooperation with the Municipality of Torgau and the District of Nordsachsen.
Martin Luther Statue in Lutherstadt Wittenberg;Nick Merchant
Hartenfels Castle Torgau © AugustusTours