About this artwork

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.

  • title:
    Dawn: Luther at Erfurt
  • accession number:
    NG 1230
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    Dated 1861
  • measurements:
    Feigned arched top: 92.70 x 69.00 cm (painted area) (framed: 121.50 x 99.20 x 13.00 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1919
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Sir Joseph Noel Paton

Sir Joseph Noel Paton