Lutheran piety and visual culture in the Duchy of Württemberg, 1534 – c. 1700
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Early modern Lutherans, as is well known, worshipped in decorated churches. They adopted a path of reform that neither disposed of all ornament nor retained all the material trappings of the Catholic church. This thesis studies the fortunes of ecclesiastical art in the Duchy of Württemberg after its Reformation in 1534 and the place images found for themselves in the devotional lives of Lutherans up to c. 1700. The territory was shaped not just by Lutheranism, but initially by Zwinglianism too. The early years of reform thus saw moments of iconoclasm. The Zwinglian influence was responsible for a simple liturgy that distinguished Württemberg Lutheranism from its confessional allies in the north. This study considers the variety of uses to which Lutheran art was put in this context. It addresses the different ways in which Lutherans used the visual setting of the church to define their relationships with their God, their church, and each other. The Dukes of Württemberg used their stance on images to communicate their political and confessional allegiances; pastors used images to define the parameters of worship and of the church space itself; parishioners used images, funerary monuments, and church adornment to express their Lutheran identity and establish their position within social hierarchies. As Lutheranism developed in the seventeenth century, so too did Lutheran art, becoming more suited to fostering contemplative devotion. While diverse in their aims, many Lutherans appreciated the importance of regular investment in the visual. Ducal pronouncements, archives held centrally and locally, surviving artefacts and decoration in churches, and printed sources enable the distinctive visual character of Lutheranism in Württemberg to be identified here.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: Print and electronic copy restricted until 23rd October 2020
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations