Minister of Heritage Söder and Secretary of State of Culture Eisenreich: Reformation in Bavaria – Digital, regional, multifaceted

Titled "Martin Luther and the early Reformation in Bavaria. Supporters, adversaries, sympathisers", the cultural portal bavarikon presents its first virtual exhibition in 2017, the year of the Reformation's anniversary. The exhibition is unique, not only with respect to its volume, but also the approach taken: Twenty-one cultural institutions take part in the virtual exhibition showing 123 high-carat exhibits at as of 15 March 2017. bavarikon thus depicts a fascinating image of the Reformation in Bavaria, at the same time enabling viewers to experience the reform movements and the counter-movements on a regional level in Old Bavaria, Franconia and Swabia.

Minister of Finance and Heritage, Dr. Markus Söder: "We celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year. On 31 October 1517, the monk Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the castle church of Wittenberg. Luther's year is of special importance to me as a member of the regional synod and also as Minister of Heritage. The presentation of the influence of Martin Luther and the Reformation on Bavaria in such an innovative and appealing manner with the aid of the multimedia treasure chest bavarikon is typical of Bavaria: living values and tradition, and at the same time digital and state-of-the-art. In Bavaria, abundant evidence of the Reformation era can be found, such as Germany's oldest church hall equipped for the Protestant rite in the castle chapel of castle Neuburg upon Danube."

Secretary of State of Culture Georg Eisenreich: "'Martin Luther and the early Reformation in Bavaria' is the first virtual exhibition of our Bavarian online cultural portal bavarikon. Twenty-one academic institutions have cooperated here, creating an exhibition of an unprecedented kind. I am very pleased that we can present this exhibition starting today. Interested visitors from around the world can discover Martin Luther's room in the fortress of Coburg or browse manuscripts of the reformer virtually. I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to the success of this excellent joint project."

The virtual exhibition on Martin Luther is a joint project of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte (Centre of Bavarian History) and the Bavarian state archives. Under their leadership, 123 precious exhibits from all over Bavaria were brought together, uniting them for an exhibition for the first time. What is special: All exhibits are presented in an outstanding digital quality. The printed works and manuscripts shown as part of the exhibition can further be browsed from the first to the last page. This means that visitors of the virtual exhibition can have a close look at documents which are otherwise kept in archives or protected by glass cabinets.

Among the exhibits to be viewed there are i.a. 26 original autographs by Luther, hand-coloured Luther Bibles, the most important Reformation writings, the portraits of Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, the Hedwig glass owned by Luther or the Regensburg Reformation altar. An impressive 3D presentation permits viewers to explore Luther's room in the fortress of Coburg, which has remained an important memorial site of the history of the Reformation.

The curators of the exhibition have set great value by the regional aspects of the Reformation in Bavaria. Accordingly, visitors of the exhibition can choose their access point to the exhibition to their own liking: "places", "persons" or "all objects".

  • The diversity of the Bavarian Reformation history becomes obvious to the visitor on the basis of the events in twelve different places: Augsburg, Coburg, Memmingen, Lindau, Ingolstadt, Munich, Nuremberg, Ansbach, Würzburg, Neuburg, Regensburg and Amberg.
  • Nine persons serve as protagonists for the Reformation, its counter-movements, reform movements inside the Church, the radical tendencies or sympathisers: In addition to Martin Luther, the exhibition introduces Johannes Eck from Ingolstadt, one of Luther's main adversaries. Further persons are for example the Nuremberg Abbess Caritas Pirckheimer, the Augsburg reformer Urbanus Rhegius, Andreas Osiander, Argula von Grumbach and the Nuremberg Meistersinger Hans Sachs.
  • Using the point of access "all objects", all exhibits can be viewed in a kind of gallery, in which the public can wander from one object to the next.

Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: "The cooperation of highly diverse cultural institutions within the framework of the cultural portal bavarikon bears fruit also in this project. We are very proud to be able to present such an ambitious project as the virtual Luther exhibition in bavarikon."

Martin Luther and the Reformation in Bavaria
Supporters, adversaries, sympathisers
Virtual exhibition
As of 15 March 2017
Short film on the exhibition:

Press release for download
Press release  (in German)  (PDF, 113 KB)

Contact person

Irma Bachhammer
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
bavarikon office
Ludwigstr. 16, 80539 Munich
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2024


About bavarikon
bavarikon is the portal leading to the art, culture and regional information of the Free State of Bavaria. It is designed to be interdisciplinary and contains contents from archives, libraries and museums. The portal makes the multifaceted cultural heritage of Bavaria accessible worldwide, free of charge. Its target group are both the broad public interested in culture and academic users.
bavarikon is a module of the Bavarian culture concept. bavarikon is a joint project of the Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and the Arts and the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance, Land Development and Heritage. Decisions about digitization projects are taken by the thirteen members of the bavarikon council. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek manages the day-to-day editorial, technical and organisational operation of bavarikon.