Cranach - The Beheading of St John the Baptist
The Beheading of St John the Baptist
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz
25.04.2019 - 10:08
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberCZ_ESGK_KE2367
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/CZ_ESGK_KE2367
FR (1978) No.FR073
Title:
The Beheading of St John the Baptist[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 73]
Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
Dating:
1515 [dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerArchdiocese of Olomouc
RepositoryArchbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz
LocationKromeríz
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 84 x 58 cm [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
Support:
Painting on lime wood [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20] oak wood [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the halberd of the soldier standing on the left in the foreground: winged serpent and dated '1515' [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
Description:
The soldier with the halberd on the left in the foreground bears the physiognomy of Cranach and looks out at the viewer. St John the Baptist lies on the ground behind him. The henchman has already decapitated him and gives his head to Salome, who places it on a silver plate. Behind her is a group of female attendants. Salome's stepfather Herod enters the scene from the left on horseback accompanied by his entourage. A mountain forest landscape with numerous castles is visible in the background. The coat-of-arms of Stanislaus Thurzo, Bishop of Olmütz is illustrated in the bottom left corner. [see Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20]
Provenance:
- created for Stanislaus Thurzo
[Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 21]
- possibly originally in the Cathedral of St Wenzel or in the collegial church of St Moritz in Olmütz
[Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 21]
Exhibitions:
Frankfurt 2008, No. 20
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Prague 201691, 92, 176, 177
Exhib. Cat. Brussels 201099
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007159-16120p. 160
Schade 200795
Exhib. Cat. Prague 200546, 52, 53, 112, 118 (English version 22, 24, 43, 45)4Pl. p. 53
Kotkova 2005 A10 (English version 5)Fig. p. 10 (detail)
Chamonikola 2005 B14 (English version 6)
Cat. Kromeríž 1998122
Friedländer, Rosenberg 197984No. 73Fig. 73
Exhib. Cat. Basel 197476
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193265
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The presumption that the soldier standing on the left in the foreground could be a self-portrait of Cranach was first suggested by Benesch. Friedländer and Rosenberg agree with this identification. In the Frankfurt catalogue the author suggests that the motive for the self-portrait is Cranach’s pride at being commissioned by such an important figure.
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
The pendant to this painting depicts the beheading of St Catherine and is in the same collection (FR74).
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]

Both panels may once have been the verso of wing panels, which were part of a triptych.
[Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2008, 159, No. 20]
This scene was copied numerous times (FR73A-C).
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 84, No. 73]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.02.2008
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Archbishop's Castle and Gardens Kromeríz - The Beheading of St John the Baptist - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
  • DESCRIPTION

    Tools/Materials:
    - fluid, black medium and brush

    Type/Ductus:
    - freehand underdrawing
    - thin lines

    Function:
    - relatively binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details and the facial features

    Deviations:
    - minor alterations made during the painting process to clearly define form

    INTERPRETATION

    Attribution:
    - Lucas Cranach the Elder?

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]