In an age when most people couldn’t read, the paintings of Lucas Cranach, the Elder, were an important way of conveying the theology of the Reformation to the public. He lived, worked, and taught in Luther’s Wittenberg and a number of his works reside there. In Cranach’s painting, Ten Commandments, on display in Luther’s home, commandment breakers are generally depicted in yellow and often have devilish creatures on their shoulders.
Cranach was a most clever fellow
Who liked to paint sinners in yellow
With devils nearby
To catch the viewer’s eye
And convince folks that sin wasn’t mellow.