Cranach - The Virgin on a Crescent Moon
The Virgin on a Crescent Moon
Anonymous Master from the Cranach Workshop
Staatsgalerie im Schloss Johannisburg, Aschaffenburg
25.05.2020 - 15:24
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_BStGS_6276
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FR (1978) No.FRSup013
The Virgin on a Crescent Moon[Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
Anonymous Master from the Cranach Workshop [Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
Master of the Mass of St Gregory [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. Sup 13]
Simon Franck [Tacke 1992, 33, 41-169]
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about 1520 - 1530[Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerBayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
RepositoryStaatsgalerie im Schloss Johannisburg, Aschaffenburg
Dimensions of support: 83.5 x 67.5 cm [Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
Painting on softwood [Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
In the 'Virgin on a Crescent Moon' two pictorial types are combined: the Virgin standing with the Child and the apocalyptical motif of the 'woman clothed with the sun' (Rev 12 1). It is linked to thoughts about the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Virgin; the motif can also be interpreted as a symbol of the church (Maria-Ekklesia), and appeared in medieval painting and - more frequently- sculpture. Corresponding interpretations of the Vision of St John have evolved in theology since the time of the Church Fathers. The Virgin is depicted here with an insignia, a scepter and a crown, identifying her as the Queen of Heaven. Angels and cherubs surround her. The infant Christ in her arms holds an apple, symbolic of the eradication of Original Sin, which was introduced by Adam and Eve. The characteristic motif of the 'old' Faith from the beginning of the Reformation is evident in the concentration of meaning and the central position occupied by the Mother of Jesus; it is not entirely coincidental that the motif experienced a revival during the Counterreformation after the Council of Trent; and frequently with a decidedly anti-reformist message. [...] his [Albrecht of Brandenburg] shield (four span with the three central coats-of-arms of the dioceses Mainz, Halberstadt, Magdeburg). In addition to the insignia of a cardinal there is also a sword, which Albrecht received from Emperor Maximilian I. on the occasion of his ordination in 1518. [...] The source of inspiration for the artist may have been engravings by Albrecht Dürer, in which the motif often appears.' [Exhib. Cat. Aschaffenburg 2007, 274]
- probably in the collegial church, Halle until 1541
- until 1802/1803 in the collegial church, Aschaffenburg[1]
[1] [Exhib. Cat. Aschaffenburg 2007, 274]
[Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011, 142]
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Munich 2011142
Hauschke 2007181Fig. 15
Schawe 2007 A215, 221, 223Fig. 1
Merkel 200478f.
Tacke 1992114
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979No. Sup 13
Cat. Aschaffenburg 197564
Steinmann 1968 A86
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.06.2012
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Anonymous Master from the Cranach Workshop - Staatsgalerie im Schloss Johannisburg, Aschaffenburg - The Virgin on a Crescent Moon - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing

    - fluid, black medium and brush; the initial design was probably fixed employing very diluted medium

    - freehand underdrawing
    - thin lines
    - washes and occasional hatching-strokes

    - binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details and the facial features; some representation of volume (hatching-strokes and washes)

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


    - Simon Franck/Master of the Mass of St Gregory?

    - probably with reference to a preparatory drawing

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner