Knight! Death! Devil? Franz von Sickingen and the Reformation
21 May − 25 October 2015
Franz von Sickingen (1481 - 1523) is one of the most dazzling characters at the threshold of the modern era. He led feuds to an unprecedented extent and thereby entered the larger political stage. He promoted the humanists and new religious ideas: Sickingen’s town of Ebernburg thus became a centre of the Reformation early on. Ulrich von Hutten sang its praise as a “shelter of justice”. In the end, Sickingen became a victim of his own bold schemes. As a knight who defied Emperors and Princes, he remains firmly anchored in the memories of people in the region.
The extensive special exhibition of the Mainz State Museum showcases the influence of the knightly orders on the Reformation. It thematises Sickingen’s rise to leadership of the knightly orders and the world they lived in, Martin Luther’s appearance before Emperor and Empire in Worms, the various forms in which the nobility embraced the Reformation in the Empire and in Europe, as well as the stylisation of Franz von Sickingen into a heroic figure, which continues to this day.
The cultural-historical exhibition presents a large variety of top-class exhibits on loan and other so far rarely shown impressive objects. Exhibited artists reach from Albrecht Dürer to Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Schäufelin, all the way to Sebald Beham. Ceremonial armours, paintings, diagrams, handbills, medals as well as rare tournament books and feud letters let us relive this turbulent epoch, marked by upheavals, of the outgoing Middle Ages. Models, productions and multi-media elements bring the bygone days of medieval knighthood back to life.
In co-operation with the protestant-theological faculty of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and with a scientific adviser, this unique exhibition is part of a country-wide decade of commemorating “Luther 2017 ― 500 years of Reformation”. Supported by the patronage of Prime Minister Malu Dreyer, this is the central contribution of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate to the anniversary of Reformation.
Exhibitions at Bischöfliches Dom- und Diözesanmuseum as well as at the Gutenberg-Museum in Mainz will supplement this thematic focus.
If you are interested in this exhibition, require further information or have questions about guided tours or bookings, please send us an e-mail to landesmuseum-mainz(at)gdke.rlp.de