'confessor', Johannes Bugenhagen, holding the keys of absolution, which come from heaven. In the middle panel, the largest of the three, Cranach represented the Lutheran communion. While the other two could be set in a church — the stone walls in the background suggest such a setting — the Supper is in an open room. Luther turns to hand a knight the cup, even as Christ places the bread soaked in bitter wine in Judas's mouth, Judas signalled by his pouch of money, clutched in his hand. In the very centre of the table is the paschal lamb, and bread is distributed all around. Cranach placed Luther at the circular table of the Last Supper itself, among Christ's apostles, using oils to render the persons of Luther, Christ, and the disciples realistically fleshly and present — all simultaneously present in the same moment, with the same fleshiness. Cranach was able to render in paint Luther's difficult — for his closest followers, as well as for artists — theology of consubstantiation. Transubstantiation, as many Catholic artists knew, could be rendered visible in a number of ways: through the image of the crucified Christ, through the traditional image of the Mass of St Gregory; or alluded to, through images of Incarnation.

0 0

Post a comment