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Reformation Propaganda and Martin Luther Discussion

Reformation Propaganda and Martin Luther Discussion

Question Description


When Protestant Reformation began the movement gained support and was successful because Martin Luther and his followers utilized a recent invention to disseminate their ideas to the public: the printing press. Through this use of technology, Luther and his followers circulated pamphlets, letters, biblical excerpts, and woodcuts (a type of print making) depicting the evils of the Catholic Church. One of Luther’s supporters was the artists Lucas Cranach, who designed numerous Anti-Catholic woodcuts at Luther’s behest.

The purpose of Writing Assignment #2 will be to examine, analyze, and discuss how Cranach’s Reformation woodcuts were used to disseminate Luther’s ideas and what their message to the common man was. This is an analytical writing assignment that will be based on your readings and knowledge of the Reformation, Luther’s works, and your own interpretation of these artistic productions.


1) Before you begin this assignment you must watch Lecture #9: The Reformation, read the Nine-Five Theses by Martin Luther, and “The Reformation a Very Short Introduction” on Canvas.

2) After reading the preliminary materials, examine the woodcut prints in pages 2-7 of this document. Pay particular attention to the imagery issued, the accompanying poetry, and the actions of the characters depicted.

3) Write 5 pages analytical essay that answers the following question in a thesis statement and with supporting arguments/evidence: What are 2-3 ways in which Martin Luther and Lucas Cranach depict the Papacy in these visual sources, and, why do you think this could have been a successful way to persuade the common public? Your essay must include:

  • A clear introduction with a clear thesis statement/argument.
  • Evidence that supports your thesis statement. This can include descriptions of the woodcuts and the accompanying poems, excerpts from articles on Canvas, or from Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses.
  • A conclusion that reiterates your argument.


5 full pages, Double-Spaced, 11 or 12 pt. font size

Citations of Sources:

Please cite all your sources including any ideas from the articles, quotes from the primary documents, and the woodprints using either parenthetical citations or footnotes. NO OUTSIDE INTERNET SOURCES. I WILL KNOW IF YOU USE THEM!

  • Parenthetical Citation Examples – These are in-text citations
    (Martin Luther, Ninety-Five Thesis, thesis #4) or (Lucas Cranach, Figure 1)
  • Footnote Citation Examples – At the end of the page. On MS WORD click on ReferencesàInsert Footnote
    1 Martin Luther, Ninety-Five Thesis, thesis #4
    2 Lucas Cranach, Figure 1.

Figures to Analyzes:

Figure 1.

“Here the Kissing of the Pope’s Feet is taunted.”

From Against the Papacy in Rome, Instituted by the Devil

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1545

Latin: PAPA LOQVITUR. Sententiae nostrae etiam iniustae metuendae sunt. Responsio. Maledetta Aspice nudatas gens furiosa nates. Ecco qui Papa el mio belvedere.”
Translation: THE POPE SPEAKS: Our sentences are to be feared, even if unjust. Response: Be damned! Behold, o furious race, our bared buttocks. Here, Pope, is my ‘belvedere’

Figure 2.

“The Pope is Worshiped as an Earthly God”

From Against the Papacy in Rome, Instituted by the Devil

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1545

Figure 3.

“The Birth and Origin of the Pope”

From Against the Papacy in Rome, Instituted by the Devil

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1545

Figure 4.

The Pope as Doctor of Theology and Master of the Faith

From Against the Papacy in Rome, Instituted by the Devil

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1545

Accompanying y poem written by Martin Luther:

Der Bapst kan allein auslegen
Die schrifft: und jrthum ausfegen
Wie der Esel allein pfeiffen
Kan: und die noten recht greiffen.

The pope alone can interpret

the Scriptures and sweep out error

just as much as the ass alone can play the pipes

and understand the notes correctly

Figure 5.

The Kingdom of Satan and the Pope (2 Thessalonians 2)

From Against the Papacy in Rome, Instituted by the Devil

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1545

Figure 6.

From the Passional Christi vnnd Antichristi. [The Passionary of Christ and the Anti-Christ]

Lucas Cranach, ca. 1521

Christ humbly washes the feet of his disciples (left).
The pope has his feet kissed by his subordinates (right).

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