Oxford University Press has just published Bridget Heal’s newest book A Magnificent Faith: Art and Identity in Lutheran Germany. In this comprehensive work, the first of its kind, Heal details the emergence of baroque Lutheran art. Long seen as a religion of the Word, Lutheranism actually embraced a visual faith, which they incorporated into paintings, altars, and churches.
The book is based on extensive engagement with archival and printed texts, as well as images and artifacts. Luckily, the work is richly illustrated, providing important context for readers. The work begins by looking at the Wittenberg Reformation and then focuses on three sections: the confessional, devotional, and magnificent image. By looking at art from two important Protestant territories, Saxony and Brandenberg, Heal shows how territorial divisions shaped Lutheran culture.
Heal is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St Andrews. She studied at the universities of Cambridge and London. Since 2002 she has taught at the University of St Andrews, where she is currently director of the Reformation Studies Institute. In 2010-2011 she held a visiting fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Her research focuses on the religious, social, and cultural history of early modern Germany. Her publications include The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany: Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500-1648 (2007).