Cranach - Allegory of Law and Mercy
Allegory of Law and Mercy
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
02.07.2020 - 08:32
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_BStGS-GNMN_Gm221
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FR (1978) No.FR-none
Allegory of Law and Mercy[Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Schuchardt 1851 A, 104][1] [1][Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Lucas Cranach the Younger [Cat. Nuremberg 1882][1] [Grundbuch der Sammlung Oettingen-Wallerstein][1] [1][Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
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after 1529[Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerWittelsbacher Ausgleichsfond/Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
RepositoryGermanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg
Dimensions of support: 72 x 59.7 cm [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Painting on beech wood (Fagus sylvatica) [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the wing of the vanquished dragon: winged serpent, facing left [CDA 2011]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
- printed text on paper attached along the bottom edge of the painting: 'Sie sind alle zumal sunder: vnd/ mangeln das sie sich Gottes nicht/ rhümen mügen. Roma iij [Römerbrief 3, 23]`. ¿Die sunde ist des todes spies: aber/ das gesetz ist der sunden krafft./ 1.Cor.15 [1. Korintherbrief, 15,56]` Das Gesetz richtet nur/ zorn an. Roma iiij [Römerbrief 4, 15] Durchs Gesetz kompt erkentnis / der sünde. Ro.iij. [Römerbrief 3, 20]`. Das gesetz vnd / alle Propheten: gehen bis auff / Johannis zeit. Matthei xi` [Matthäus 11,11]` Der gerecht lebt seines glaubens / Ro.i. Wir halten das der mensch/ gerecht werde durch den glauben: / on des gesetzs werck. Ro.iij. [Römerbrief 3, 28]`. Sihe: das ist Gottes lamb: welchs / der welt sünde tregt. Jo. i. [Johannes 1, 29]`. In der / heiligung des geistes: zum gehor=/sam vnd besprengung des blutes / Ihesu Christi. 1. Petri.i [Brief Petri, 1, 2].` Der tod ist verschlungen ym sieg / Tod: wo ist dein spies: Helle: wo ist dein sieg. Gott aber sey danck der vns den sieg gibt: dvrch Ihe=/ sum Christu(m)s vnsern Herrn. 1. Cor. 1 [1. Korintherbrief 1,55 und 57].' [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 138]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel: in black paint 'H4(?)146'; in pencil '242' paper label: 'Slg. König Ludwigs I. von Bayern 1828, Nr. 383; WAF H.G. 173 (1936) Inv. S. No. 382' - beneath on the left: Nr. 221 - right: R 143; new label: '22/5' [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]
The right side of the panel: DE_BStGS-GNMN_Gm220. St John the Baptist leads the believers to Christ, who died for them on the cross and whose blood, accompanied by the Holy Spirit as a dove, falls on the chest of the sinners. The lamb symbolises Christ's sacrifice and the flag on the cross is a sign of victory. On the right the ressurrected Christ appears in front of the empty tomb as vanquisher over Death and the Devil. The serpent in the background is an old testament prefiguration of the crucifixion. Three scenes in the upper part of the painting illustrate the road to salvation: the child with the cross symbolizing Christ's future sacrifice; angels announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds; the ascension of the ressurrected Christ. The tree on this side of the panel bares leaves. There is a biblical text along the bottom edge. [Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]
Loan from the Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds
BStG Inv. No. WAF 173

- the collection of Count Rechberg
- 1815 acquired for the collection of the Prince of Oettingen-Wallerstein, register of deeds 1817-18, § CCXIV
- 1828 acquired for the collection of King Ludwig I. of Bavaria, I.W. 383
- from 1829 displayed in Nuremberg, in the Moritz Chapel
- 1882 GNM

[Löcher, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 136]
Cappenberg 1951, 362-363
Nuremberg 1959, No. 138, Fig. 12, 13
Nuremberg 1979, No. 138
Nuremberg 1983, No. 474, 87
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Nuremberg 2004103-104
Cat. Nuremberg 1997136-140
Schade, Schuttwolf 199421
Exhib. Cat. Nuremberg 198387No. 474
Exhib. Cat. Nuremberg 1979No. 138
Schiller 1966/1990174-175Figs. 533, 534
Exhib. Cat. Nuremberg 1959No. 138Figs. 12, 13
Thulin 1955126-154Figs. 172, 173
Exhib. Cat. Cappenberg 1951Nos. 362, 363
Cat. Nuremberg 1936/193743
Cat. Donaueschingen 1934under No. 213
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932183
Glaser 1923230
Meier 1909415-419
Cat. Nuremberg 1909Nos. 220, 221
Cat. Nuremberg 1893Nos. 266, 267
Dittrich 1890Sp. 325
Janitschek 1890498
Cat. Nuremberg 1885Nos. 241, 242
Cat. Nuremberg 1882Nos. 236, 237
Cat. Nuremberg 1878-1880Nos. 133, 134
Schuchardt 1871176
Parthey 1863-1864687 (Bd. 1)Nos. 154, 155
Heller 185487
Schuchardt 1851 C104-105379
Waagen 1843194
Kugler 1836143
Schorn 1829419
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2015
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • X-radiography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - X-Radiographs
    • created by: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg
    • Date: 01.09.2010
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Infrared reflectography
    • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - Infrared Images
    • Underdrawing

      - fluid drawing medium, brush

      - freehand underdrawing, possibly in combination with a traced linear underdrawing?
      - thin lines

      - binding for the final painted version

      - only minor alterations made during the painting process


      - Lucas Cranach the Elder

      - may be with reference to a pre-existing study

      [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
      • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
      • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
      • Date: 1997
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
      • Infrared reflectography
      • Stereomicroscopy
      • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - Detail ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - Detail ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - Detail ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg - Allegory of Law and Mercy - Detail Images
      • Support
      • - beech wood (Fagus sylvatica)
        - originally one panel consisting of four planks, joined horizontally and glued. Separated into two parts before 1817/18
        - the widths of the planks from left: top 16.8, 11.4, 23.1, 20.7 cm, bottom 16.6, 11.8, 22.7, 20.9 cm
        - 1.5- 1.7 cm thick
        - the joins are covered on both sides with an application of tow
        - the panel has been trimmed slightly on all four sides

        - scraped
        - the sides of the panel are rebated
      • Underdrawing
      • - executed with a soft drawing instrument
        - the contours and lines within the forms are indicated
      • Paint Layers and Gilding
      • - the thin rays extending from Christ's nimbus were probably carried out with a feather
        - the contours of the stones were smudged with a soft brush while still wet creating a slightly blurred effect
        - the black band around the edge is original
        - there is a piece of paper c. 11.5 cm wide and 3 cm high on the right between the shaft of the cross and the clouds. There may be an inscription on it, but the text is no longer legible
        - there is an inscription printed on paper attached to the bottom edge of the painting; the paper was already damaged before it was attached
        - an imitation ballustade with marble panels was painted over the paper due to a change in plan
        - the green glazes have become brown

        [Bartl, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]
          Condition Reports:
          • Date: 1997
          • Support: - 1817/1818 cut vertically and separated into two parts - some of the joins are open - old wood worm damage - the panel has been trimmed slightly on all four sides, a considerable amount was removed along the top edge Reverse: - the joins are covered with a coating containing lead white - the open joins have been reinforced with wooden blocks - a coating of brown schellac was applied at some stage to the reverse Painted surface: - the paint layers exhibit a distinctive craquellée in the areas where there is an application of tow; in some areas there are also losses - paint losses along the edge, small retouches over the entire surface - patchy remains of a old varnish [Bartl, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]
            History of Restoration:
            • Date: 1959
            • as yet no information [Bartl, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]
              • Date: 1912
              • '(BStGS, R.P. Nr. 5386) cleaned, small losses were filled, a very dirty coating was left' [Bartl, Cat. Nuremberg 1997, 137]