About the project

By Sophia Gravenstein

Gettysburg College owns a portrait of Martin Luther, dated 1547 and signed with the insignia of the Cranach workshop.

Having only arrived to the College in 1981, this artwork has not received the attention it deserves. I will show for the first time how this work compares favorably to others like it in Germany and Poland, dubbed here as the “Fur Coat Series.”

This website seeks to teach about and analyze the portrait to highlight its importance and excellent quality, and reconsider the portrait’s attribution to the Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger. You will also learn about  Martin Luther, his portraits, and the Cranach workshop, and the roles they played in the Reformation.

This website is an independent study project conducted in my senior year at Gettysburg College. I was very excited for the opportunity to research this artwork because it combines my Art History and German Studies majors. It has been a fascinating journey uncovering information about this artwork that has been largely forgotten. 

I had the great fortune to have help through the project. Thank you to Carolyn Sautter, R.C. Miessler, and Emma Poff for their guidance in my project and website, and the Cranach Digital Archive for the invaluable resource. I extend a special thanks to Dr. Felicia Else, my supervisor for the project, for her guidance and encouragement that made this project come to life.

Detail, Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, “Martin Luther”, 1547, oil on wood panel, Gettysburg College.



Martin Luther

Martin Luther started the Reformation in 1517 when he published his 95 Theses against the Catholic Church. He then became one of the most frequently represented people in 16th Century art.

Click below to learn about the role of his portraits in the Reformation. 

The Cranachs and Luther

The Cranach family and Luther were friends and partners in art and religious propaganda. They worked together to create an image of Luther as a capable and trustworthy leader of the Reformation, recognizable by all. 

Click below to learn more about the Cranachs and Luther. 

Gettysburg College’s “Martin Luther”

Gettysburg College’s portrait of Martin Luther is a 16th century high quality oil painting in excellent condition. It is attributed to the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger. 

Click below to learn more about the College’s portrait.