Theologian Martin Luther was controversial enough in his own time. And though it may be for different reasons, the father of the Protestant Reformation is still a divisive figure, most recently in Berlin.
With the Evangelical Church gearing up to celebrate 500th anniversary of the posting of his 95 theses next year, it teamed up with the Berlin senate to hold a competition for the design of a new Luther memorial. The conflict over the winning entry shows how complicated Luther’s cultural legacy in Germany remains.
The debate revolves around a 3.5-meter, or 11.5-foot, historic statue of the theologian that has been tucked away for years next to the Marienkirche church at the central Alexanderplatz square. Built in 1895, it has been collecting verdigris and pigeon droppings since, and was recently delivered for restoration ahead of being integrated into the modern memorial designed by Berlin artist Albert Weis, who works for German-Mexican architect firm Zeller & Moye.