From the museum website, 19 February 2009
Few people in the history of the world have exercised such a deep, diverse and lasting influence on economics, politics, art and thought as the Genevan Reformer John Calvin (born in Noyon in 1509, died in Geneva in 1564). Calvin not only conceived a theology based entirely on the Bible, which served international Christianity as a powerful inspiration, but also gave the impetus for the development of the implicit responsibility of the individual. Calvin’s teaching promoted a strict working ethos, but also encouraged the practice of grace and charity. It prompted a new aesthetic in the reformed countries which largely broke with the traditional religious art.
The German Historical Museum and the Johannes a Lasco Library are marking the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth with an exhibition presenting the early stages, subsequent spread and the effects of Calvinism in Germany and Europe. The exhibition covers a chronological period extending from the Reformatory movements in the Late Middle Ages to the 20th century. In Germany, the Reformed creed established itself in individual regions, principally in the West and North-West areas of the Holy Roman Empire, alongside the teachings of Martin Luther. In Europe, the Calvinist doctrine fell on fertile ground – particularly in Switzerland, France, Scotland, Hungary and the Netherlands. The various manifestations of the Reformed creed, informed by both the person of John Calvin and the various periods he spent in France, Strasbourg and Geneva, and the resultant political, cultural and social consequences in Europe are illustrated via numerous works of art, historic documents, scriptures, liturgical devices and quotidian art.
Calvinismus : die Reformierten in Deutschland und Europa
Ansgar Reiß, Sabine Witt
464 pp., 350 images, mostly in color, 29 x 22.5 cm.
Dresden (Sandstein) and Berlin (Deutsches Historisches Museum and Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek) 2009