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Lucas (1472) Cranach

(1472-1553)

Aliases: Lucas (1) Cranach, Lucas (1472) Cranach

Painter, copperplate engraver

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Biography

(b Kronach, Germany, 1472; d Weimar, Germany, 1553) German painter. Lucas Cranach the Elder was the son of the painter Hans Muller and was taught by him at an early age. Cranach only emerges as a fully-fledged artist in Vienna since 1501, when he was already in his early thirties. Such works as the portraits of Johannes Crispinian and his wife display the originality and intensity of his vision; while his delicate landscape backgrounds emphasize his role in the development of the Danube School. In 1505, Cranach became court painter in Wittenberg to the Ernestine Elector of Saxony. In 1508 he was ennobled and awarded a coat-of-arms by Frederick the Wise. He remained in the city until 1550 when his then patron, John Frederick, a nephew of Frederick the Wise, was captured by Charles V and exiled to Augsburg. By the mid-1520s Cranach had experience depicting three-quarter length religious and profane figures, chiefly female, in delicately wrought and typically Germanic wooded landscapes. Cranach was deeply involved in the Reformation of the Church initiated by Martin Luther in Wittenburg in 1517; indeed the two were close friends. Nevertheless, this did not prevent Cranach from accepting commissions from Catholics, including Luther's enemy Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg. He created paintings and woodcuts of varying types: altarpieces; portraits of protestant reformers; court portraits; themes of a biblical or mythological nature; and portraits of well-dressed and female nudes. (Credit: Christie’s, New York, Old Master Paintings, April 6, 2006, lot 14; Sotheby’s New York, Important Old Master Paintings Including European Works of Art, January 24, 2008, lot 30)

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Auction Houses (87)

Danube School (4)

Northern Renaissance (103)

Old Masters (69)