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2017 Bavarian State Exhibition: “Knights, Peasants, Lutherans”

Untertitel: Coburg Castle, Church of St. Moriz, May 9 to November 5, 2017
Erscheinungsdatum: 08.04.2016

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The Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, the Coburger Landesstiftung and the city of Coburg supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and the congregation of the Church of St. Moriz will be hosting the Bavarian State Exhibition “Knights, Peasants, Lutherans” in Coburg from May 9 to November 5, 2017.


“Ca. 1500”: a tumultuous period, a period of major changes. Printing, tracts and battle anthems were bringing new ideas among the people, casting centuries-old beliefs into doubt. The central Bavarian contribution to the quincentenary of the Reformation in 2017, the Bavarian state exhibition will present a broad panorama: vibrant life in the countryside, in cities, in abbeys, in knights’ castles. It will be presented at an authentic venue: Under imperial ban, Martin Luther followed the events of the Diet of Augsburg of 1530 from the safety of Coburg Castle. In those days, Coburg was a centrally located hub of commerce and news with close ties to both Nuremberg and Central Germany, “Electoral Saxony’s showcase” to the south. At the beginning of his stay in Coburg, Luther preached seven sermons in the late Gothic parish Church of St. Moriz where worship had been being held in the new Lutheran form since 1524. The selection of these two original settings as venues for the 2017 state exhibition will highlight the city and fortress as a single entity.


From Peasants to the Pope

Did Martin Luther’s ideas and writings change the world? Rather than the figure of the reformer, the state exhibition will focus on the empire, primarily in southern Germany. Every social class will be examined: from poor peasants to the emperor, from the pope to mendicant monks. What moved people in those turbulent days? What was worth fighting for with words and, in some cases, even with weapons? Precious and exceptional original objects from the period, works of art by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and many other masters and vivid multimedia installations will bring to light the social, economic, political and artistic traditions and upheavals from the late 15th century to the second half of the 16th century.



Coburg Castle, an Original Setting

“Knights, Peasants, Lutherans” – Coburg Castle ties into this theme in a variety of ways: as an Electoral Saxon fortress, as a royal palace, as a place where Martin Luther stayed and as a historical Luther site. This will make the castle’s interior and its outdoor areas the biggest object exhibited in the state exhibition. A varied tour from the Luther Chapel through the magnificent Gothic “great court hall” banquet hall to the “Luther chambers” will introduce visitors to the wide variety of life Luther’s day: peasant livelihoods in the countryside and cities as nuclei of economic booms and new ideas. The growing range of wares at city markets vied with the large variety of paths to salvation for the faithful: pious foundations, mendicant orders and hospitals and homes. Magnificent weapons and suits of armor, pageantry and an antiquated social ideal were united in the vivid aristocratic theater of tournaments, while imperial princes developed new forms of exercising state power. Scholars with humanist educations dreamed of a new era modeled after antiquity.


95 Theses and a “Multimedia Revolution”

A revolutionary tract started circulating in this world in 1518: the “Sermon on Indulgences and Grace”, the German version of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses against the sale of indulgences. The new teaching rapidly became an issue of power politics as well, culminating in the revolts of the “common man”, which the reformer fiercely attacked as rebellion against the God given order. Luther’s stay in Coburg in 1530 as well as the genesis and impact of the “Augsburg Confession” will likewise be themes, as will the “multimedia revolution” of that day – tracts, battle anthems and the mobilization of a new public.


What is Protestant and what is Catholic – and how did all of that affect people’s lives? Concrete examples from Thuringia, Franconia, old Bavaria and Swabia will illustrate the implementation and consequences of the Reformation and the Counter Reformation, of peaceful coexistence and even long-lasting conflict. Finally, it will be about Coburg as a Luther memorial, about later appropriation of the reformer, and ultimately about the relevance of events around 1500 for the present: What is the relation between the Reformation and liberty? What is the oft-mentioned concept of “evangelical freedom” all about, which different factions championed without meaning the same thing? And what do present-day options of freedom look like?



Companion Exhibition in the Church of St. Moriz

Along with Coburg Castle’s art collection, the castle’s outside areas, the path into the city and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Moriz will be part of the overall experience of the state exhibition in Coburg. Right in time for the quincentenary of the Reformation, visitors will be able to discover the late Gothic hall church with its unique late Renaissance ducal tomb and 18th century early neoclassicist additions in new splendor. The building’s form and function as a Lutheran worship space will be elucidated. One of the exhibition’s emphases will be music, from (pious) battle anthems through the riches of Protestant church music. And it will be about very topical issues: What role does the Lutheran church in the center of the city play in people’s lives today? Rather than being a museum, St. Moriz will remain a worship space and a venue for concerts during the exhibition, too. Precisely the combination of exhibition, Evangelical Lutheran worship service and church music will give visitors an authentic experience in one of Northern Bavaria’s architecturally most interesting church spaces.



2017 Bavarian State Exhibition “Knights, Peasants, Lutherans”

Coburg Castle and Church of St. Moriz

May 9 to November 5, 2017, daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, Coburger Landesstiftung and City of Coburg with the support of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and the Congregation of the Church of St. Moriz



Adults € 12
Discounted (e.g. seniors, students, groups of 15 or fewer) € 10
Family ticket € 24
Children and teenagers aged 6-18 € 2


Guided Group Tours
15 or less € 60 plus admission
15 or more € 4 per person plus discounted admission



Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte

Zeuggasse 7 – 86150 Augsburg – Germany

Phone  +49 (0) 821 3295-0

Email    pressestelle@hdbg.bayern.de




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