The Indulgences; or, The Ninety-Five Propositions, By An Anonymous Artist Inspired By Pierre-Antoine Labouchère (c. 1807 – 1873)

This engraving, by an unknown artist influenced by Pierre-Antoine Labouchère (c. 1807 – 1873), re-creates events around the publication of the Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences by Martin Luther (c. 1483-1546). As the story goes, Martin Luther hammered his Ninety-five Theses onto a church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Although Luther may have meant the act to be a harmless proposal of debate on the Catholic Church’s most controversial practices, the posting and subsequent printing-press-aided mass dissemination of his Ninety-five Theses became a catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The artwork seems to bring to life the commotion that occurred after Luther’s public posting of his thought-provoking writing.

Written by C. Keith Hansley


  • Carter Lindberg. The European Reformations (Second Edition). Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • A Reformation Reader: Primary Texts with Introductions, edited by Denis R. Janz. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2008.

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