Dawn: Luther at Erfurt

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Dawn: Luther at Erfurt Dated 1861

On Display Scottish National Gallery

  • Scottish Art
This elaborate composition was influenced by Holman Hunt's ‘The Awakening Conscience’ (Tate, London). It depicts Luther after passing through a crisis of faith and questioning, arriving at the doctrine of Justification by Faith, just as the morning light floods in at the monastery window. The Agony of Christ in the Garden, depicted on the lectern, echoes Luther's own uncertainties, whilst the roundel portrait of the Pope, hung so as to obscure a mural of the crucified Christ, hints at the corrupt practices of the Church against which the Reformer was rebelling. The head of Luther was a likeness of the artist's wife, and there is a drawing for it in the Department of Prints and Drawings (D 5111). Paton had a large family and throughout his career they sat for him as models.


  • Acc. No. NG 1230
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size Feigned arched top: 92.70 x 69.00 cm (painted area) (Framed: 121.50 x 99.20 x 13.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1919