Portrait of Martin Luther and His Wife, Katharina Von Bora, 1525
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909
Cranach painted this pair of portraits in 1525, the year Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, a former Cistercian nun who had escaped from her convent with Luther's help in 1523. Luther argued against the practice of celibacy within the church, asserting his belief in clerical marriage with his own union. A friend of Luther's and a witness at his wedding, Cranach thereafter became the principal portrait painter of the couple.