John Jānis Šteins

:: Artist ::

Was Albrecht Durer a Catholic or Lutheran?

I know the painting “The Four Apostles” is his support for Lutheranism and his woodcut of “Last Supper” is a Catholic scene. I’m not religious, so if somebody could please straighten this out for me. It would help a lot!

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  1. John Wagstaff January 8, 2011

    Actually, this question has been the subject of debate for centuries.

    It is thought Dürer officially remained a Catholic throughout his life, but he was certainly sympathetic to Luther’s attempts to reform the Church. Some even say he died a good Lutheran.

    As you mention, many of his earlier works focus on Mary and the saints, while his later, Lutheran influenced, works have more scriptural subjects.

    The Reformation era was a turbulent time, and in Dürer’s day it was still hoped and believed that the differences between the Lutheran and Catholic parties would work themselves out in the end. The Lutheran Augsburg Confession makes a very strong argument that Luther’s teachings were in no way inconsistent with the Catholic teachings prior to the corruption of it during the Middle Ages. Many Lutherans at this point did not consider themselves as a separate demonination, but as a reform movement within the Catholic Church.

  2. gypsy_girl January 8, 2011

    Durer was born Catholic, however, became influenced in later life by the writings of Martin Luther.

  3. Chrispy January 8, 2011

    According to the website below, he was Catholic.

  4. leantimes January 8, 2011

    Durer was a Catholic, but was a major proponent of Renaissance humanism. Renaissance humanists believed that the liberal arts (art, music, grammar, rhetoric, oratory, history, poetry, using classical texts, and the studies of all of the above) should be practiced by all levels of “richness”. They also approved of self, human worth and individual dignity.

  5. Paula The Librarian January 8, 2011

    The Last Supper is just as much a Lutheran topic as it is Catholic or Fundamentalist Christian. Lutherans also have the cannibalistic theology of consubstantiation (the communion wafer is both the body and blood of Jesus and truly bread at the same time). It would be hard to distinguish Dürer’s affiliation just by the subjects he chose for his art.

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