The visual icon of the German Reformation was Martin Luther. Images of the Reformer were everywhere, on books, broadsheets, household objects, as well as in churches. Unlike other reformers, Luther’s body mattered. And it was unmissable. Luther was fat in an age when most famous religious figures were thin. Luther was no ascetic, and after 1530 he did not look like one. This created a representational challenge for the Reformation: how to present the bulky reformer as a spiritual leader. His sixteenth-century biographers recounted his illnesses and disgestive problems at length. And his fondness for anal rhetoric made him a gift for psychoanalysis. This lecture seeks to explore the meanings of Luther’s body in the writings and imagery of the time, and to relate it to central issues in Luther’s theology.
Lyndal Roper ist Professorin für Early Modern History am Balliol College der University of Oxford