Purfürst Genealogy of the World

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A5. The Alter within the St. John the Baptist Church,
Neustadt an der Orla, Germany.

This picture of the alter within the St. John the Baptist Evangelical church was taken by the Author during a year 2000 research trip to Neustadt, Germany.

In 1511 the Neustadt City council traveled to Leipzig and in the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder ordered an alter for the church. In June 1513 the alter pieces were delivered from Wittenberg and assembled in the church.

Both the alter and its maker are significant. Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), a leading painter in Saxony, was one of the most important and influential artists in the 16th-century art. In 1505 he was appointed as court painter to elector Frederich the Wise of Saxony. He resided in the city of Wittenburg where he remained for 45 years, serving three different electors (Kurfursten).

Dr Martin Luther was teaching at the University of Wittenburg at the time of the Protestant Reformation and the two became friends. Cranach’s portraits of Luther helped form Luther’s image and Lucas became the chief propagandist for the Protestant’s cause.

The Cranach alter in the Neustadt church is a tryptich-alter which means that the two side-pieces swing out to reveal more paintings on the inside. The wood carvings are almost life-size.

See the History of the St John the Baptist Evangelical Church for more information on the alter and the parish.

Owner/SourcePersonal Files
PlaceNeustadt an der Orla, Germany

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