Monday, July 30, 2012

Cranach, Lucas, the Elder

David et Bethsabée (David and Bathsheba)
oil on wood
115 x 79 cm
private collection

King David was the second king of Israel,  and this is based on the second Old Testament book of Samuel from the Bible. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and afterward of David, by whom she gave birth to Solomon, who succeeded David as king of the United Kingdom of Israel. The story of David's seduction of Bathsheba is told that David, while walking on the roof of his palace, saw Bathsheba, who was then the wife of Uriah, having a bath. He immediately desired her and later made her pregnant.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553), was a German Renaissance rapid and prolific painter. He took his name from the small town of Kronach in South Germany, where he was born. He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known as a close friend of Martin Luther, whose doctrine he upheld in numerous paintings, and he has been called the painter of the Reformation. Despite his allegiance to the Protestant cause, he continued to work for Catholic patrons and was a very astute businessman. Throughout his career, he continued  to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion. He had a large workshop and, during the last years of his life, Cranach was assisted by his son, Lucas the Younger (1515-86), who carried on the tradition of the workshop and imitated his father's style so successfully that it is often difficult to distinguish between their hands.