Cranach the Elder

Germany • 1472−1553

Biography and information

Lucas Cranach The Elder (Lucas Cranach der Ältere, 4 October 1472, Kronach — Oct 1553, Weimar) — German artist of the Renaissance, the schedule, the court painter. Author of numerous portraits of his contemporaries, as well as paintings of biblical scenes and themes and genre paintings. He took an active part in the creation of the Danube school, the head of a large art Studio, a supporter of the reformation, friend of Martin Luther. The father of the painters Hans Cranach Lucas Cranach The Younger.

Features of the artist Lucas Cranach: successfully combining in his work the Gothic tradition, dominant in those days in German art, and the basic principles of Renaissance painting, Cranach was able to create a unique style. In his paintings the figures are harmoniously integrated into the landscape, through which the artist managed to more fully convey the individual traits of their models. Despite the fact that many customers of the master were members of the nobility, the artist portrayed them, without undue idealization, preferring to show the rich inner world that was revealed before him in the process.

In the early paintings of Lucas Cranach clearly noticeable that the artist preferred custom colors. This technique in combination with the asymmetry was quite innovative for the time. A more Mature period of the art is represented by paintings, dominated by a poetic beginning, whereby the subjects, saturated fine details, get a flair of fabulousness and style.

Famous paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder: "Adam and eve", "The crucifixion", "Venus and Cupid", "Madonna", "Nymph of the source", "Melancholy", "Deer hunt", "The Judgment Of Paris""Judith with the head of Holofernes", portraits Martin LutherPrince of Saxony, Frederick The Wise, Sibylla Of Cleves, Anna Cuspinian.

The paintings of Lucas Cranach as a reflection of the era

Accurate data on the childhood years of the artist there. Some sources claim that his father was unknown, and the name of the young Cranach was Thunder. According to other sources, Lucas was born in the family of the artist by Hans Mahler, who lived and worked in the Upper Franconian city of Kronach. Assuming that the basics of painting Cranach was trained in the workshop of his father. His first drawings were not preserved, in the public domain are the works of Lucas, created by the artist at the age of about 30 years.

In the early 1490's, the young Lucas Cranach, the then-unknown aspiring artist, went on a trip to Germany. Then was Palestine, and in 1501 to Vienna. In the capital of Austria, the painter spent two years studying the work Albrecht Dürer. It was here that he wrote his first extant of the times works with a recognizable signature. These include the painting "Adam and eve"that was long attributed the authorship of Durer: Cranach was so fascinated by the works of the great German that have used the same song in the wizard to create your option.

Moving to Wittenberg at the invitation of Frederick the Wise in 1504 Cranach brought the title of court painter and well-known: he painted portraits of courtiers and other paintings, including "The crucifixion". Depicting the Savior ascended on the cross over filled with blood and the spring flood the earth on a background of dark storm clouds and dry branches, the artist managed to convey the tragedy of what is happening, which leaves hope for salvation after death and forgiveness of sins.

As an artist, Lucas Cranach the period of the early 1500-ies shows amazing craftsmanship, combining the contrasting bright colors and using unusual techniques. So, portraying Mary on the canvas "Rest on the flight into Egypt"he draws this garment in the form of a shell, as if protecting his mistress. The relaxed pose of Joseph, who is resting up against the tree, contrasted with numerous figures of angels fussy, surrounded by a little of Christ.

1508 was the year of the Lucas Cranach the Elder turning: he visited the Netherlands, and after his return to Wittenberg he received the title of nobleman and a position of the head of a major Studio. Under him worked the 10 young artists that helped to paint, to illustrate books and sell them. Over time, the workshop was to generate considerable revenue: the Cranes are so rich that the citizens began to consider him a respected man and was repeatedly elected to the post of burgomaster of Wittenberg. During this period, was created the portrait of Charles V canvas "Venus and Cupid"the altar of St. Catherine.

A huge source of inspiration for steel by Lucas Cranach the Elder work da Vinciwith whom the artist met during a trip to Melehan in 1508. Lucas was the first of the painters of Northern Europe dared to depict the goddess Venus naked before in a similar form in the paintings could appear only eve. The boldness of the interpretation has not met with condemnation from the public: the Cranes are still popular, taking orders for portraits, paintings on biblical and classical themes and idyllic landscapes.

Paintings by artist Lucas Cranach decorated the palaces of the nobility and the houses of rich citizens. The abundance of orders allowed Lucas to bring the painting to his sons, in the workshop of the famous painter worked as his eldest son Hans, and later he was joined by Junior offspring Lucas Cranach The Younger.

Lucas Cranach the Elder was not only a painter and a successful burgher. Familiarity with Martin Luther have made him a staunch supporter of the reformation and an active participant in the movement. The artist drew illustrations for Protestant pamphlets and portraits Lutherand has allocated a considerable sum for the publication of the Bible, translated by Luther into German.

Today the paintings of this brilliant artist adorn the halls of museums such as the Hermitage Museum, the Dresden gallery, the Leipzig Museum, gallery in Stuttgart, Alte Pinakothek (Munich), etc. In 2015, his picture "The mouth of truth"was sold at Sotheby's for 9 million 300 thousand pounds.