Luther’s New Testament
Luther’s first translation of the entire New Testament ['Das Newe Testament Deutzsch'] from the Greek original was published by Melchior Lotter the Younger in September 1522, with woodcut illustrations by Lucas Cranach. The so-called September Testament was received so enthusiastically that a second edition with corrections by Luther was printed as early as December of the same year.
For the Apocalypse, Lemberger took Cranach’s compositions as models, complementing them with new illustrations. With a total of 44 full-page images [printed from 34 blocks] plus 27 larger initials and the border decoration of the title page, this edition is lavishly illustrated. The Gospels are introduced with portraits of their authors, the Epistles with images of the apostles, and thus each book of the New Testament begins with a woodcut.
The artist renders the evangelists as hermits placing them in a wilderness setting, while he shows the apostles in the act of handing over their letters to messengers who depart into wooded, mountainous landscapes. The halos of the apostles are rendered as spectacular, luminous apparitions.The figures are depicted in close-up before landscapes featuring low horizons and woody or rocky mountains. A typical element is the large conifers stretching out their long branches."
The book is owned and hosted by Mälardalen University in Sweden