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The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early Modern Germany
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  • Page extent: 358 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.696 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521871037)

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  • Published December 2007

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$124.99 (C)

The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Early
Modern Germany

What happened to the fervent Marian piety of the late Middle Ages during Germany’s Reformation and Counter-Reformation? It has been widely assumed that Mary disappeared from Protestant devotional life and subsequently became a figurehead for the Catholic Church’s campaign of religious reconquest. This book presents a more finely nuanced account of the Virgin’s significance. In many Lutheran territories Marian liturgy and images – from magnificent altarpieces to simple paintings and prints – survived, though their meaning was transformed. In Catholic areas baroque art and piety flourished, but the militant Virgin associated with the Counter-Reformation did not always dominate religious devotion. Traditional manifestations of Marian veneration persisted, despite the post-Tridentine church’s attempts to dictate a uniform style of religious life. This book demonstrates that local context played a key role in shaping Marian piety, and explores the significance of this diversity of Marian practice for women’s and men’s experiences of religious change.

BRIDGET HEAL is Lecturer in Early Modern History and Director of the Institute for Reformation Studies at the University of St Andrews.

Past and Present Publications

General Editors: LYNDAL ROPER, University of Oxford, and CHRIS WICKHAM, University of Oxford

Past and Present Publications comprise books similar in character to the articles in the journal Past and Present. Whether the volumes in the series are collections of essays – some previously published, others new studies – or monographs, they encompass a wide variety of scholarly and original works primarily concerned with social, economic and cultural changes, and their causes and consequences. They will appeal to both specialists and non-specialists and will endeavour to communicate the results of historical and allied research in the most readable and lively form.

For a list of the titles in Past and Present Publications, see end of book.

The Cult of the Virgin
Mary in Early Modern

Protestant and Catholic Piety, 1500–1648


Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Bridget Heal 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-87103-7 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of
URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and
does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or

For my parents (all of them)


  List of illustrations page viii
  Acknowledgments xiii
  List of abbreviations xv
     Introduction 1
  1 Transformations in Marian teaching 23
  2 Marian piety in Lutheran Germany 64
  3 Confessional frictions and the status of the Virgin 116
  4 The Counter-Reformation cult 148
  5 Catholic pluralism and Cologne 207
  6 Marian devotion and gender 262
     Conclusion 304
  Bibliography 308
  Index 333


1. Johann Ulrich Krauss (after Johann Andreas Graff), interior of the Frauenkirche, 1696
   © GNM, Nürnberg
2. Barthel Beham (?), wing from the Welser altarpiece (meeting at the Golden Gate, birth of the Virgin), c.1522
   © GNM, Nürnberg
3. Barthel Beham (?), wing from the Welser altarpiece (presentation of the Virgin, presentation of Christ), c.1522
   © GNM, Nürnberg
4. Albrecht Dürer, Virgin and Child, 1512
   © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
5. Master of the Holy Kindred, intercessory image, c.1464–75
   © RBA, Nr. 200219
6. Martin Schaffner, two wings from a plague altarpiece, c.1513–15
   © GNM, Nürnberg
7. Master of St Severin, altarpiece of the Cologne rosary brotherhood, c.1500–10
   © RBA, Nr. 90164
8. Erhard Schön, the Great Rosary, 1515
   © The Trustees of the British Museum
9. Stefan Lochner / the Dombild Meister, altar of the Cologne city patrons, c.1440–5
   © RBA, Nr. 136583
10. Virgin and Child from the Nuremberg Frauenkirche, c.1440 and c.1522
      © Kunstverlag Peda, photo Gregor F. Peda, D-94034 Passau
11. Adam Kraft, Pergenstorffer epitaph, 1498
      © Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art
12. Hans Suess von Kulmbach, design for a stained-glass window, 1515
      © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
13. Workshop of Veit Stoß, rosary panel, c.1518–19
      © GNM, Nürnberg
14. The Coronation of the Virgin, roof boss from the portal of the Nuremberg Frauenkirche, mid fourteenth century
      © Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art
15. Johann Ulrich Krauss (after Johann Andreas Graff), interior of the Lorenzkirche, 1685
      © GNM, Nürnberg
16. Veit Stoß, Angelic Salutation, 1517–18
      © Conway Library, Courtauld Institute of Art
17. Obstmarkt, Nuremberg (with Hausmadonnen), 1935
      © Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, C 6137/6
18. Nuremberg house altar, c.1480 (restored 1558, 1577 and 1620)
      © GNM, Nürnberg
19. Altarpiece showing the death of the Virgin from the Lübeck Marienkirche, 1518
      © Museen für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck
20. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Virgin and Child, from Georg Rhau, Hortulus Animae, Lustgarten der Seelen (Wittenberg: Georg Rhau, 1558)
      © BPK/HKH
21. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Holy Kindred, c.1510
      © BPK / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, photo Jörg P. Anders, Inv. Nr. 573–2
22. Albrecht Altdorfer, Anne and Mary putting the Christ Child to bed, c.1520
      © BPK/HKH
23. Barthel Beham, Mary in a window niche, c.1529
24. Hans Traut, epitaph for Johannes Löffelholz, 1504
      © GNM, Nürnberg
25. Wolf Traut, Holy Kindred altar from the Annenkapelle at St Lorenz, 1514
      © Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, München
26. Daniel Manasser, the miraculous image at Klosterlechfeld, 1618
      © SStBA
27. Christoph Amberger, panel for the east choir altar of Augsburg Cathedral, 1554
      © Kunstverlag Peda, photo Gregor F. Peda, D-94034 Passau
28. Hans Holbein the Elder, design for a panel for the east choir altar of Augsburg Cathedral, 1508
      © Photo Krystyna Augustyniak, Muzeum Narodowe, Gdańsk
29. Christoph Amberger, design for a panel for the east choir altar of Augsburg Cathedral, c.1548–52
      © The Trustees of the British Museum
30. Paulus Mayr, altarpiece from the high altar of SS Ulrich and Afra, Augsburg, 1570–1
      © Photo Freya Strecker
31. Anonymous (‘A.C.’), silhouette of Augsburg with saints, c.1566
      © Photo Bodo Beier (Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, Inv. Nr. G9210)
32. Christoph Schwarz, Mary in Glory, panel from the Jesuit church of St Salvator, Augsburg, c.1584
      © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
33. Christoph Schwarz, design for Mary in Glory from the Jesuit church of St Salvator, Augsburg, c.1584
      © Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
34. Peter Candid, Virgin and Child with saints Benedict and Francis, c.1591–2
      © Photo Freya Strecker
35. Peter Candid (after Christoph Schwarz), Virgin and Child with saints Ulrich and Afra, completed 1595
      © Photo Freya Strecker
36. Hans Rottenhammer, Coronation of the Virgin with saints, 1614
      © Photo Bodo Beier
37. Peter Paul Rubens, Assumption of the Virgin, 1627
      © Photo Bodo Beier
38. Johann Matthias Kager, Coronation of the Virgin, 1627
      © Anton H. Konrad Verlag
39. Giovanni Lanfranco, Assumption of the Virgin, c.1631
      © Artothek
40. Raphael Sadeler Ⅱ (after Cosmas Piazza), engraving of the former altarpiece of the Kapuzinerkirche in Augsburg, 1607
      © Albertina, Wien
41. House altar from the Fugger house on Weinmarkt, between 1564 and 1570
      © concret Werbeagentur GmbH, Augsburg
42. Raphael Sadeler Ⅰ (after Matthias Kager), Archangel Michael and Virgin and Child with a map of Bavaria, engraving from Matthäus Rader, Bavaria       Sancta (Munich, 1615)
      © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, München (Neg. No. 1995/593)
43. The consecration of Munich’s Mariensäule [Marian pillar] on 7 November 1638
      © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, München (Neg. No. 90/193/1)
44. Wolfgang Wilhelm and his wife consecrate the city of Neuburg to the Virgin, stucco decoration from the Hofkirche in Neuburg, 1616–19
      © Kunstverlag Peda, photo Gregor F. Peda, D-94034 Passau
45. Votive triptych of Andreas von Ettling, 1586
      © Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, photo Joachim Sowieja
46. Design for an engraving showing hostages from Munich in prayer before the Virgin and Child, 1635
      © Photo Bodo Beier (Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, Inv. Nr. G12171)
47. Master of the Glorification of the Virgin, saints before Cologne, c.1480
      © RBA, Nr. 200250
48. Johann Hulsman (?) and Johann Toussyn, altarpiece showing the saints of Cologne, c.1635
      © RBA, Nr. 53157
49. Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder, wings from an altarpiece (Virgin and Child, and donor with St Stephen), c.1530
      © RBA, Nr. 142181 and 142183
50. Wings of the so-called Drolshagen altar from St Andreas, Cologne, after 1581
      © Photo Dorothea Heiermann, Köln
51. Panel showing the Virgin and Child with donor from St Andreas, Cologne, 1594
      © Photo Dorothea Heiermann, Köln
52. Virgin and Child with a Carthusian monk, c.1600
      © RBA, Nr. 11562
53. Joos van Cleve, house altar showing the death of the Virgin
      © RBA, Nr. 52808
54. Johann Hulsman, Assumption of the Virgin from St Aposteln, Cologne, 1643
      © RBA, Nr. 139534
55. ‘Ehren = Taffel’, single-leaf print showing Mary as the Woman of the Apocalypse, produced by Peter Overadt’s publishing house, 1659
      © GNM, Nürnberg
56. The miraculous Virgin of Scherpenheuvel, 1607
      © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Handschriftenabteilung (YA 4156 kl)
57. Johann Toussyn, pilgrimage to Scherpenheuvel, c.1640
      © Photo Dorothea Heiermann, Köln
58. The distribution of rosaries, from Heilig Kreuz (now in St Andreas), Cologne, 1621
      © Photo Dorothea Heiermann, Köln
59. ‘Triumphus SS.mi Rosarii’, invitation to the feast of the rosary for members of the Dominicans’ rosary confraternity, seventeenth century
      © RBA, Nr. L17731
60. Bernhard Strigel, Konrad Rehlinger and his children, 1517
      © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
61. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Holy Kindred (the Torgau altar), 1509
      © Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main
62. Lucas Cranach the Elder, Schutzmantelchristus / Christ in Limbo, 1530s
      © BPK / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, photo Jörg P. Anders, Inv. Nr. KdZ 505
63. Martin Schaffner, epitaph of Sebastian Welling, c.1532
      © BPK/HKH
64. Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger, Christ blessing the children, c.1560
      © Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig


This book grew out of my PhD thesis, undertaken at the University of London. The project was first conceived under the guidance of Bob Scribner (1941–1998), and Lyndal Roper’s brilliant supervision enabled me to bring it to fruition. Susan Foister and Susie Nash also provided essential encouragement and advice during my time as a graduate student. When it came to turning the PhD into a book, the comments of my examiners, Ulinka Rublack and Joseph Koerner, were invaluable, as was the institutional support of Newnham College, Cambridge. Since then I have been in St Andrews and Bruce Gordon and Andrew Pettegree have provided help and inspiration. I am grateful in particular for Bruce’s stimulating comments on drafts of this book. Thank you also to Bettina Bildhauer and Christine Linton, who helped out with various language problems.

   The research for this book was undertaken with the financial support of a number of institutions: the Associated Humanities Research Board, the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Newnham College, Cambridge, the British Academy, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the University of St Andrews. During my time in Germany many people provided help and guidance. In Nuremberg I wish to thank the staff of the Stadtarchiv, Staatsarchiv and Landeskirchliches Archiv. In Augsburg my thanks are due above all to the Stammtisch crowd. Helmut Zäh, Hans-Jörg Kunast, Benedict Mauer and Georg Feurer all generously provided me with information without which the local archives would have remained impenetrable. Moreover their hospitality made me feel at home. Rolph Kießling also offered valuable encouragement and advice. In Cologne Joachim Deeters and his staff made working in the Historisches Archiv a great pleasure. I am indebted to Klaus Militzer for his generosity in directing my inquiries. Thank you also to the staff of the Erzbistums Archiv, in particular Josef van Eltern, and to Gerd Schwerhoff who provided useful pointers for tackling Cologne’s criminal records.

   For enabling the book to appear in its final form I wish to thank Lyndal Roper, Michael Watson and the editorial board of Past and Present Publications. I also wish to thank all those who helped with the task of assembling and paying for illustrations and permissions: Helmut Zäh, Frank Müller, Nina Rewizorska and Lorna Harris. On a more personal level, my thanks are due firstly to my parents, Felicity Heal, Geoff Heal and Clive Holmes, for all their support. Stefan Brunner’s incomparable hospitality and Duane Corpis’s friendship made my extended stay in Germany a joy, and while I was there the Hahn family generously gave me a home. Above all, I wish to thank my husband, Guy Rowlands, for his emotional and practical support throughout the writing of this book and for his intellectual advice, which has broadened my historical horizons.



ABA Archiv des Bistums Augsburg
BPK Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz
GNM Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nuremberg)
HAEK Historisches Archiv des Erzbistums Köln
HAStK Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln
RBA Rheinisches Bildarchiv
StaatsAN Staatsarchiv Nürnberg
StadtAA Stadtarchiv Augsburg
StadtAN Stadtarchiv Nürnberg
SStBA Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg
UStBK Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln
WRM Wallraf-Richartz-Museum (Cologne)


CWE Collected Works of Erasmus (Toronto, 1974–)
LB Desiderii Erasmi Roterodami opera omnia, ed. Jean Leclerc (Leiden, 1703–6, repr. 1761–2), 10 vols.
WA D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar, 1883–1983), 61 vols.
WA Br. D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefwechsel (Weimar, 1930–85), 18 vols.
WA Tr. D. Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Tischreden (Weimar, 1912–21), 6 vols.


CR Colonia Romanica: Jahrbuch des Fördervereins Romanische Kirchen Köln e.V.
JbKGV Jahrbuch des kölnischen Geschichtsvereins
JbVAB Jahrbuch des Vereins für Augsburger Bistumsgeschichte
MVGSN Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg

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