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Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)
Lucas Cranach was born at Cronach in upper Franconia, Germany and learned the art of drawing from his father. He was a religious painter and his chief occupation was that of portrait-painting. He was equally successful, and often comically na´ve in mythological scenes.
Cardinal Albrecht


Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg Kneeling before Christ on the Cross
C. 1520-29

Pine, 158 x 112 cm
Alte Pinakothek
Acquired in 1829 from the Collegiate Church in Aschaffenburg
Comments about Lucas Cranach

Name:Alte Pinakothek
Date:Wednesday June 6, 2007 5:29:40 pm MDT
Subject:Lucas Cranach bio
Message:Lucas Cranach d. ─. (1472 - 1553)

German painter, engraver and designer of woodcuts, born in 1472 in Kronach. He received his initial training from his father. From 1501/02 to 1504/05 he was active in Vienna in the humanist circle of Konrad Celtis. Reference should also be made to the important role he played in the development of the so-called Danube School.

From 1505 he was court painter to the Elector of Saxony, running a large workshop in Wittenberg. In 1508 he was granted his own coat of arms, (a serpent with wings erect, which he thereafter used as his signature). In the same year he journeyed to the Netherlands to Emperor Maximilian. From 1517/18 he was also a supporter of Martin Luther's ideas. Between 1519 and 1544/45 Cranach was a councillor in Wittenberg and Mayor on a number of occasions.

In 1520 he was granted the privilege of practising as a pharmacist (apothecary) in Wittenberg, and in 1523 set up a printing press there. In 1524 he stayed with Elector Friedrich in Nuremberg and also worked in the same year for Luther's adversary, Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg.

On the death of his son Hans (born 1513) in 1537 he changed his serpent insignia by altering the standing position of the wings to a recumbent position. In 1547 he lost his position as court painter, and, as the supporter of Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony, went to prison with him from 1550 to 1552 and followed him to Weimar (1552/3), where he died in 1553.

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