Cranach - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel]
Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel]
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau
23.11.2017 - 00:57
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_AGGD_7c
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_AGGD_7c
FR (1978) No.FR020
Title:
Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel][CDA 2011]
The Virgin and Child with the Sts Catherine and Barbara [central panel][Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
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Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, revised 2011] [Flechsig 1900 A, 85, 88, 266, 283][1] [Hosäus 1883, No. 1557, 49, 95][1] [1][Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
Matthias Grünewald [Müller 1879, 321][1] [1][Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
UnknownPseudogrünewald [Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899, No. 127][1] [1][Klingen, Cat. Dessau1996, Bd. 1, 23]
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Dating:
about 1510[Grimm 1998, 73][Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 73, No. 20]
about 1510[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 73, No. 20]
about 1509[Sandner 1998 B, 88]
about 1507 - 1509[Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
after 1510[Schuchardt 1998 B, 13]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerAnhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau
RepositoryAnhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau
LocationDessau
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 106 x 92.6 x 0.9 cm Dimensions including frame: 116.5 x 103.5 x 5 cm [Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, revised 2011]
Support:
Painting on lime wood [Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
Signature / Date:
None
Description:
The composition is defined by the central figure of the Virgin, who is flanked by the Sts Catharine and Barbara. These reverently lower their heads and are seated beneath the Virgin. The Virgin has inclined her head to the left and looks out at the viewer. Her thick dark brown curls swirl around her shoulders and are held back by a thin black hairband. A delicate barely visible veil covers her head and forehead. The thin black band around her neck suggests that she is wearing an amulette or pendant beneath her red robe. Her left arm and her leg - of which only the knee is visible - is covered by a dark blue coat. The Virgin supports the infant Child sitting on her knee with a gentle touch. He in turn faces to the left and as the new Adam holds out an apple, while with his right hand he places the ring on St Catharine's finger to seal the mystical marriage. Catharine delicately holds the Child's arm in assistance. Christ smiles at the saint, who lowers her gaze. St Barbara silently follows the event with her hands held in an attitude of prayer. In contrast to the Virgin the saints wear contemporary clothing. They have placed their attributes on a ledge at the bottom of the image. Two putti whose transparent robes conceal nothing of their nakedness occupy the upper corners of the image. The black background of the central panel extends over the wing panels. [Görres, in Bonnet, Kopp-Schmidt, Görres 2010, 156]
Provenance:
- origin unknown, possibly originally intended for the Lady Chapel in the church of Wittenberg Castle
[Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]
- old ducal Inv. No. 1557, Joachim-Ernst-Stiftung
[Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau 2011]
- 1879 recorded in the 'Gotischen Haus' in Wörlitz (war cabinet)
[Klingen, Cat. Dessau 1996, Bd. 1, 23]

- Wörlitz (R.D.A), Gotisches Haus, No. 1557
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 73, No. 20]
Exhibitions:
Dresden 1899, No. 127
Erfurt 1903, No. 184
Berlin 1937, No. 15, Fig. 20
Weimar, Wittenberg 1953, 20, No. 3
Dresden 1971, 100-102, No. 104, Fig.
Weimar 1972, No. 3, Figs. 36-37
Berlin 1983, 109f., No. B47, Figs. 92, 93
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Ruoss, Giesicke 201517711
Schuchardt 2015 A10
Exhib. Cat. Wörlitz 2015136-137
Melzer 2015 B152
Bonnet, Görres 201544-4712p. 44, 45
Aikema 201025Fig. 4, p.22
Brinkmann 200719
Heydenreich 2007 A19, 67, 68, 100, 102, 120, 122, 138, 150, 151, 187, 188, 193, 201, 204, 303, 394Figs. 4, 138, 161, 165, 249
Heydenreich 2007 B42, 4424, 31, 32
Bünsche 1998 A62
Schuchardt 1998 B13
Grimm 199873, 75-80Figs. 9.18, 9.23, 9.24
Heydenreich 1998 A191
Wittmann 1998169
Sandner 1998 B87, 88
Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 199812914.10Fig. 14.10
Cat. Dessau 199623-25No. 7Plate 5
Erichsen 1994 A151, 158Fig. A94
Schuchardt 199469-73Figs. 70, 71
Thümmel 1994167, 168, 170
Sandner, Ritschel 1994188, 189, 191-193Figs. A134, A135, A136, A137, A138, A139
Hinz 199334Fig. 36f.
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1983109f.,No. B47Figs. 92, 93
Hintzenstern 198158, 59with Fig.
Friedländer, Rosenberg 197972No. 20Fig. 20
Schade 197438f., 385Figs. 56, 57, 58
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 B169No. 3Figs. 36, 37
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1971100-102No. 104with Fig.
Posse 194354No. 26Fig. 26
Posse 194254No. 26Fig. 26
Lilienfein 194231Fig. 22
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 193717No. 15Fig. 20
Mayer 1933109
Friedländer, Rosenberg 19323219
Heyck 192776, 82Figs. 24, 25
Cat. Dessau 192715No. 7Fig. 7
Glaser 192370Figs. 71, 72, 73
Hartmann 191388No. 1557
Friedländer 19059Fig. 7
Exhib. Cat. Erfurt 190332No. 184
Michaelson 190218-30, 46, 49Figs. 6-8
Flechsig 1900 BPlates 9, 10
Flechsig 1900 A85f., 88, 266, 283
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899No. 127
Hosäus 188349, 95No. 1557
Müller 1879321
Rossmann 187651
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.04.2010
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
  • DESCRIPTION

    Tools/Materials:
    - fluid black pigmented medium, pointed brush

    Type/Ductus:
    - detailed and freehand linear underdrawing
    - thin unbroken lines are combined with slightly broader black lines; in the heads more precise

    Function:
    - only roughly binding for the angels in the upper corners, otherwise essentially binding for the final painted version; the thin lines delineate the contours and describe the facial features; the broader lines loosely indicate the folds in the drapery and describe the angels

    Deviations:
    - minor alterations were made during the painted version to clearly define form

    INTERPRETATION

    Attribution:
    - Lucas Cranach the Elder

    Comments:
    - the underdrawing is probably with reference to a preparatory drawing

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
    • Date:
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • X-radiography
    • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Anhaltische Gemälde-Galerie, Dessau - Altarpiece of the Virgin, or so-called Princes' Altarpiece [central panel] - X-Radiographs