Cranach - The Law and the Gospel
The Law and the Gospel
Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder
Národní galerie v Praze (National Gallery in Prague)
21.08.2019 - 04:53
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberCZ_NGP_O9619
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR221C
The Law and the Gospel[Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder[Exhib. Cat. Prague 2005, no. 12] [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9] [Exhib. Cat. Prague 2016, 166, No. 22]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 221C]
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1500 - 1599'16th century', dating '1529' not original [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
1529[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 221C] Exhib. Cat. Prague 2005, no. 12]
1550 - 1599[Exhib. Cat. Prague 2016, 166, No. 22]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerNárodní galerie v Praze (National Gallery in Prague)
RepositoryNárodní galerie v Praze (National Gallery in Prague)
Dimensions of support: 88.5 x 87 cm [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
Painting on lime wood [Klein Report, 08.04.2013] [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia bottom centre: winged serpent with elevated wings and date '1529'; both most likely not original [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
Left top: "GESECZ" Right top: "GNAD", "EMANVEL", "ENGEL ERHALTEN / ZV DEM DIENST CHRISTI" Left centre: "SVNDER", "FIGVR DER RECHTFERTIGVNG" Right centre: "VNSER RECHTFERTIGVNG", "VNSER VNSCHVLD" Left bottom: "TODT", "PROPHETEN", "MENSCH AN GNAD" Right bottom: "ANZEIGER CHRISTI", "VNSER VBERWINDVNG On bottom area: 'Roma. 6 Der Todt ist der sünden sold .1. Cor.15 Die Sünd ist des Todes spies Aber das gesetz Ist der sünden krafft Roma .4. Das gesetz richtet zorn ahn. Roma .1. Es wirdt offenbart Gottes zorn von himel vber aller menschen gotlos leben und vnrecht Roma .3. Sie seindt alezumal sünder vnd mangeln des preises das sie sich Gottes nicht rümen mögen. Roma .3. Durch das gesetz komet erkentnus der Sünden Matthei .11. Das gesetz und Propheten gehen bis auff Jo hannis zeitt. Roma .7. Ich Elender Mensch wer wirdt mich erlösen aus dem Leibe des Todes Roma .1. Der gerechte lebet gerns [?] ge- lawbens Roma .3. Wir halten das ein Mensch ge- recht werde durch den gelauben on werck des gesetzes. Marci .1. Es Wirdt ein stercker komen nach mir S. Joannes Baptist. Joan .2. Sihe das ist Gottes lamb das der weltt sünde treget .1 Petri .1. In der heili- gung des geistes zum gehorsam und besprengung des blu tes Jesu Christi. Amen. Esaie .26. Send das Lamb den herscher der Erdenn Exodi .12. Es wirdt sein ein Lamb on mackel. Der Todt ist verschlungen Im sieg. Todt wo ist dein spiess. Helle wo ist dein sieg? Danck hab Gott der vnns den sieg geben hatt durch Jesum Christum Unsern herzen .1. Corin .i5. Matthei .4. Die Engel haben sich genehet und die- neten Ihm Wenn seinen Engeln ist gepoten von dir auff das sie dich behütten zu allen deinen wegen. Psal.90.' [Görres, cda 2014]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
On the reverse side: - two paper labels: 'E.C. 819', 'OP 89' - seal with coat-of-arms of the Bruntálský family of Vrbno, late 18th century [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
The composition of the painting is divided into two sections, but in a less rigid and schematic manner than is the case in other versions of the same subject. The nude figure is seated on a tree trunk centrally in the foreground. His head is inclined to the left and his arms are folded. A prophet from the Old Testament is on the side of Law. He bends down to the nude figure and appears to speak with him and points with his left hand to the crucifixion on the side of Mercy. As such he fulfills the same function as St John the Baptist. By making this alteration Luther's idea of human existence, which occurs in a state between Law and the Gospel is emphasized more than in other versions, as is the fact that Law leads man to Christ, which is a pre-requisite for salvation.[1] The Fall of Man and the Brazen Serpent appear on the left side. Instead of being pursued by Death and the Devil, the man lies in an open grave on the left side wearing a shroud and thus clearly juxtaposes Death on the left with the resurrection of Christ on the right side. The resurrected Christ stands in front of the burial cave, under his feet lie the vanquished Devil with Death. The sacrificial Lamb stands above the cave with the crucifix. Behind is a rocky outcrop and the Virgin stands on the summit encircle by heads of angels in a cloud with her hands clasped, and as such is characterized as just. The Christ child floats down to her from a gloriole with a T-shaped cross and in anticipation of the conception. The Virgin thus also represents a role model for the Faithful with respect to the humble and passive acceptance of God's will. Like the Old Testament equivalent on the side of Law, that is to say like Moses, who kneels to receive the tablets of the commandments from God's hands. [1] see Harbison 1976, 101 [Görres 2006, 18-19, revised 2014]
- late 18th century probably the property of the Bruntálský family of Vrbno
- in 1800 lent to the National Gallery Prague by Countess Marie Anna Thun, born Kolowrat-Liebsteinský

[Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
Prague 2005, No. 12
Prague 2016, No. 22
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Prague 201642, 160-16722Fig. p. 42
Fleck 2010
Cat. Prague 200730-319
Görres 200615-19
Exhib. Cat. Basel 200695, note 82
Reinitzer 200642-44
Exhib. Cat. Prague 200578-79 (English version 32, 33)12Pl. p. 79, Fig. p. 78 (detail)
Chamonikola 2005 B28 (English version 12)
Kotkova 2005 B43, 44 (English version 20)
Weniger 2004116-124
Krueger 1994310, note 5
Badstübner 199434
Hrubý, Royt 1992127-131
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979114221C
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974506-507
Ehresmann 1966/196736-43
Cat. Prague 1962XVII
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193264183C
Cat. Prague 191236112
Cat. Prague 188944158
Cat. Prague 18561729
Schuchardt 1851 C107-109386
Cat. Prague 18441535
Cat. Prague 182745819
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.06.2014
  • Support
  • - four boards in vertical orientation
    - two wooden strips applied on the backside
    • examined by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • Date: 01.06.2014
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Infrared reflectography
    • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Národní galerie v Praze (National Gallery in Prague) - The Law and the Gospel - Infrared Images

      -dry drawing material, dark chalk, stylus; a fine tipped brush may also have been used

      - square grid was used to carefully transfer the design from a template; detailed underdrawing with a stylus, during the second stage a fine tipped brush may have been used; occasional reinforced lines

      - relatively binding for the final painted version; lines define the main contours and describe essential details and the facial features (the hands and the faces are rendered with particular attention to detail), no representation of volume with hatching-strokes

      - minor corrections were made during the painting process


      - not possible
      - the square grid proves that a pre-existing design was copied. Such a grid has not to date been found on any works by Cranach the Elder
      [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2016]
      • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
      • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
      • Date: 08.04.2013
      • Naturwissenschaftliche Materialanalyse
      • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
      • Support
      • Identification of wood species: lime wood
        [Klein Report, 08.04.2013]
        • examined by: Peter Klein
        • Date: 1993
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
        • Paint Layers and Gilding
        • - blue areas contain azurite and lead-white

          [Exhib. Cat. Prague 2005, 28, No. 9]
          • examined by: J. Grohmanová
          History of Restoration:
          • Date: 2005
          • - The signature and the date (as well as the surrounding layer) are penetrated by cracels; this provides evidence that the signature and the painting are of the same age - The placement of the signature on the tree stump, the rendering of the the work and date are equal as in O 10732 [CDA.CZ_NGP_O10732]; although a rather stiff curve of the serpent creates a puzzled impression. It seems that it consciously imitates the original. [Cat. Prague 2007, No. 9]
          • examined by: Jana Raslová