Berlin and the Origin of Cultural Richness

In the exhibition “Cranach and Renaissance Art under the House of Hohenzollern” in the New Wing of the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Paintings of Lucas Cranach the elder and of his workshop clearly illustrate how the Hohenzollern family linked politics and religion; art and science together from an early stage. The works displayed include, amongst others, probably the only stand-alone self-portrait of the master, an early version of the “Naiad” and the nine Passion Cycle paintings obtained from the old Berlin Cathedral. With a wealth of other originals (sculptures, prints, arts and crafts, archive materials, books), the exhibition presents thecultural-historical context of the paintings and describes the achievements of their patrons the two electors Joachim I (1484-1535) and Joachim II (1505-1571): the positioning of the family as one of the most powerful dynasties in the Empire, a diplomacy which strove to achieve reconciliation between political camps and denominations and far-sightedly conceived the expansion of the dominion through marriage. In this context issues of cultural transfer – primarily from neighbouring Saxony and the Franconian Hohenzollern territories- in the Brandenburg Marches are particularly highlighted.The exhibition will open with the Cadolzburger Altar which originated in 1430 in Franconia and on which Friedrich I had himself depicted as a donor, shortly after he obtained the right to be an elector in Brandenburg. It ends with pictures and written documents on elector Johann Sigismund’s conversion to Calvinism in 1613, which sparked conflicts with the Lutheran population and led to reconciliation between denominations, something which anticipated the later Hohenzollern policy of tolerance.