Lucas Cranach, the Elder

Lucas Cranach, the Elder

This week, our section Masterpieces is devoted to another dynasty of artists. One of the leading German painters and printmakers of the early 16th century, Lucas Cranach the Elder is definitely one of the most renown artists of his time.

His name comes from Kronach, his native town; he was probably trained by his father, and became court painter of the Electors of Saxony at Wittenberg. Contemporary of Dürer, he is mainly known for his portraits of German princes and leaders of the Protestant Reformation, but he also painted many religious and mythology subjects, included his famous nudes.

He became a close friend of Martin Luther and in fact, he is remembered as the chief artist of the Reformation.

Cranach had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions – as for instance, The Ill Couple; his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, and others, continued to create versions of his works for decades after his death. We’ll explore his workshop work in the next chapter of Masterpieces.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) Venus 1532 Mix media on beech wood 24.5 × 37.7 cm (9.6 × 14.8 in)
Details of artist on Google Art Project Lucas Cranach the Elder - Venus and Cupid, the Honey Thief 1530 oil on panel 68.6 × 49.8 cm (27 × 19.6 in) Statens Museum for Kunst
Lucas Cranach the Elder Cupid complaining to Venus circa 1525 oil on panel, c. 2011 transferred on to a new Height: 81.3 cm (32 in). Width: 54.6 cm (21.5 in). National Gallery
Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ill-matched Lovers (Unequal Couple), 1528 © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek
Signature of Cranach the Elder from 1508 on: winged snake with ruby ring (as on painting of 1514)

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  1. Pingback: National Gallery acquires Renaissance painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder ⋆ HUMA3

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