Martin Luther (1483–1546).
Der gros Catechismus und Kinder Lere.
Wittenberg: Johannes Schwertel, 1571. (BRB0736/A)
The cultural legacy of Dürer’s art lived on long after his death in 1528. In this 1571 catechism for Lutheran children, the lessons concerning Baptism and Communion were introduced by two illustrations: the woodcut on the left depicts the administration of the two sacraments while a Lutheran minister preaches to a congregation; the woodcut on the right represents the Last Supper. Significantly, Judas has already departed from the meal and Christ extends his hand to pronounce his New Commandment, as in John 13:34. This interpretation of the Last Supper, not as the institution of a ritual but as a promise of salvation, could not have existed without the precedent set by Dürer’s innovative Last Supper of 1523. Thus, Dürer had created a uniquely appropriate image for Lutheran education that would endure for generations.