Renæssanceforum 2 • 2006

Hanne Kolind Poulsen
Branding Frederik II: On the engraved portrait by Melchior Lorck

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Lorck's portrait of Frederik II, dated 1582, has a surprisingly schematic and de-personalised, almost petrified, character. What does this anti-realistic style mean? In the light of Luther's new concept of images, which prescribed the image's anti-realistic sign-character as a protection against image worship, I argue that Lorck's portrait is an expression of 'Lutheranism' and should be understood as Lorck's - and Frederik II's - visual strategy for branding the king as a true Lutheran monarch. Frederik's interest in such a branding was rooted in his conflict with the electorate Saxony over his support to Philippism against the new Lutheran orthodoxy.