Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The painter Joerge Ratgeb was a contemporary of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Based on the evidence in paintings discovered to be Ratgeb's work, and on fragments of the historical record, he is believed to have been one of the rare craftsmen who supported the Peasant's War (1524-26). This East German film recounts his efforts as an ancient ally in struggles prefiguring the rise of communism and workers' movements. In the film, set in 1517, Ratgeb (a resident of Herrenberg) has been asked by the peasant's group to paint a flag for them for their coming protests, but he refuses, claiming he is an artist, not a politician. During a trip to visit Albrecht Dürer, who is his artistic hero, he has occasion to see the oppression of the peasants and serfs and comes to believe that something must be done.