Dr Bridget Heal, Director of the Reformation Studies Institute, has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for her project on “Lutheran Visual Culture during the Age of the Renaissance and Baroque”. Protestantism was all about the pure preaching of God’s Word. In order to focus parishioners’ attention on the Word, and in order to eliminate idolatry, reformers often destroyed religious images, as the University’s own St Salvator’s chapel shows.
Yet unlike Scottish Calvinists, Germany’s Lutherans developed an astonishingly rich visual culture, which reached its highpoint during the early eighteenth century with the construction of monuments such as Dresden’s Frauenkirche. Dr Heal’s project asks why this word-based confession came to value images so highly. Through the example of Lutheran Germany, it will illuminate the ways in which religious identity was constituted and expressed during the early modern period.