Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cranach, Lucas, the Elder

The Suicide of Lucretia
oil on panel
size unknown
Neue Residenz, Bamberg, Germany

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.