faith and power second saxon state exhibition
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Albrecht Wing

Palace Chapel



Academic Advisory Board

Members of the Board of Trustees




The Second Saxon State Exhibition will address the theme of "Faith and Power. Saxony in the Europe of the Reformation Era,” with a primary focus on the first half of the sixteenth century.

With the so-called Leipzig Partition of 1485, the Albertine and Ernestine branches of the House of Wettin divided Saxony into two spheres of influence. The Ernestines, and particularly Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, preferred Torgau as their residency and in the course of several construction phases developed Hartenfels Palace into a splendid estate. The Albrecht Wing was completed as early as 1485, to be followed by the Johann Friedrich Wing - whose façade displays the Grand Staircase - and the Palace Chapel consecrated in 1544.

The balance of power changed in Europe in the early sixteenth century. The imperial House of Hapsburg and its claim to sovereignty were confronted with growing opposition. Martin Luther had posted his ninety-five theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, initiating a reformational movement that was recognised as a threat. Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous repeatedly held a protective hand over Luther and the movement. Moritz took a more ambiguous stance, becoming an opponent to the elector and supporting Emperor Charles V in his campaign against the Ernestine prince.

Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous was defeated in 1547 in the Battle of Mühlberg. The electorship was transferred to Moritz, who nevertheless sought contact to opponents of the emperor, finally leading Protestant troops against the Hapsburgs. With the conclusion of the Treaty of Passau, Moritz succeeded in settling the conflict between the estates of the empire. Moritz himself fell in the Battle of Sievershausen. The 1555 Religious Peace of Augsburg regulated the division of the church and the integrity of the Protestant lands, also confirming the territorial conditions Elector Moritz had created in Saxony.

Lucas Cranach d.J., Elias und die Baalspriester

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden