Cranach - Martin Luther on his Deathbed
Martin Luther on his Deathbed
Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder
Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
23.05.2019 - 03:08
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_DHM_Gm2010-1
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_DHM_Gm2010-1
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Martin Luther on his Deathbed[cda 2017]
Attribution:
Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder[Deutsches Historisches Museum, revised 2016]
Dating:
after 1672[Deutsches Historisches Museum, revised 2016]
from 1682Probable date of creation: from 1682 [Peter Klein, UHH, Zentrum Holzwirtschaft, 06.10.2015 with consultation of the comparative chronology for Northern Germany, in particular Lübeck]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
RepositoryStiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
LocationBerlin
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 40.8 x 29.8 x 0.9 cm Dimensions of the painted surface: 40.8 x 29.8 cm dimensions of frame: 52.5 x 42 x 6 cm (glazed) [Deutsches Historisches Museum, revised 2016]
Support:
Painting on oak wood [Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016]
Signature / Date:
At the right beside the left ear: winged serpent; in black paint [Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016] Not authentic [cda 2017]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
At the bottom left, in the corner (with black paint): 'D: MART.LUTHER' [Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the support: - bottom left corner: paper label, printed in black: '197' - above this: remnants of glue, narrow vertical rectangular shape - probably from a label now lost. - at the right of centre, in red pencil: 'N 45' - running diagonally from the top left to the bottom right text in black pencil. - below this: 'x 73' [Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016]
Description:
A depiction of Martin Luther showing him on his deathbed. He is wearing a white shroud, gathered at the neck and wrists. His eyes are closed. His arms are crossed. His upper body rests on a pillow that fills the entire background and in shape symbolically recalls the clouds of heaven. [Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016]
Provenance:
2010 purchased on the art market
[Brigitte Reineke, DHM, 2015/2016]
Exhibitions:
Frankfurt 2007, No. 42
Wittenberg 2015
Minneapolis 2016, No. 374
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Minneapolis 2016374
Exhib. Cat. Wittenberg 20152/13
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 200742
Dieck 1962
Stuhlfauth 1927
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2016
  • Infrared reflectography
  • X-radiography
  • UV-light photography
  • Stereomicroscopy
  • IInstrumental material analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - ReverseCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - ReverseCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Infrared ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - X-RadiographsCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Detail ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Detail ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Detail ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - OtherCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Other
  • Framing
  • not the original frame
    Profiled battens, water gilding, dark finish
    52.5 cm x 42 cm x 6 cm (glazed)
  • Paint Layers and Gilding
  • PIGMENTS: ( X-ray fluorescence analysis (XFA) and optical spectroscopy)
    Red: 5, 6 (flesh paint: cheeks, lips): probably ochre, some vermilion, lead white
    Dark grey: 1, 3 (background): lead white, some calcium present (possibly small addition of chalk?), probably carbon black
    White: 2 (background): lead white, some calcium present (possibly small addition of chalk?)
    Black: 4 (signature): probably carbon black, some copper based pigment or impurities
    The ground and paint layers cover the entire panel and in some areas extend beyond the edge. There is an opaque grey imprimatura over the ground. The painting appears to have been executed in oil, whereby opaque discrete layers were applied. there are relatively smooth areas as well as impasto highlights . The contours of the sitter are on top of the background with the exception of the cheeks where the grey of the background is present in the areas of shadow over the flesh paint. It would appear that the artist began with the background and then painted the figure. Within the figure he painted the flesh paint first and then the dress.
    In general it was observed that on this painting the paint layers follow a sequence whereby lighter areas were applied over dark grey and brownish grey areas. On the pillow this is the case for the transition from the figure to the background (the lighter coloured paint of the shroud was painted on top of the pillow) , but also within the white shroud and the flesh paint. The contours of the hair were applied last over the flesh paint and the background. There are two fingerprints in the paint one below the chin of the sitter and one on his left sleeve. Contrary to the inscription in black at the bottom left the serpent insignia was probably added later as it stands out against the bluish green fluoresce of the background. The painting is not varnished and exhibits a relatively matt surface. It would seem that the artist planned each individual stage of the painting process in advance. Therefore the painting appears stiff, rather than free and spontaneous. For example the strands of hair were frequently executed as precise parallel lines. Also more formulaic in execution is the area where the material is gathered around the collar and the sleeves that precludes a natural representation of volume. Unlike the usual practice at Cranach’s time here an application of layers cannot be discerned. This interplay of opaque paint layers and glazes creates more depth and saturation. The dull surface appearance is emphasized by the lack of a varnish. In addition the matt, slightly coarse appearance of the surface is also emphasized by the fact that the painting is not varnished.
  • Support
  • Oak
    The panel consists of a single plank, which at the edges is c. 0.7 cm thick. At the centre of the painting the panel is about 0.9 cm thick. The grain is in a vertical direction and the plank exhibits a radial cut. There is a rebate on three sides of the panel (as seen from the reverse the top, right and bottom edges). This suggests the reuse of a larger panel and that the left edge was cropped to a greater extent before the painting process began. Moreover in raking light an unusual surface structure is visible in the region the pillow, that appear to be the result of sinking ground and paint layers. this may have occurred if the panel already exibitied woodworm damage and was thinned on the front before use. However the x-radiograph does not show any ground in the channels, therefore it must be asumed that a fill material was employed before the ground and imprimatura were applied. Plane marks are visible on the reverse.
  • Ground and Imprimatura
  • The panel exhibits a white ground of an average thickness consisting of a chalk-glue mix, probably with the addition of lead white and applied in a number of layers. Through the paint layers numerous, very fine pin holes are visible in the ground - a phenomenon that frequently occurs during the drying process of a chalk ground that has become too hot during preparation creating bubbles. A barbe is not evident. The ground and paint layers extend to the edge of the panel. Furthermore ground and paint is also present on the cut edges of the panel.
    There is an opaque imprimatura layer above the ground layer containing black and white pigments. It is relatively dark grey in tone and contains in addition to a small quantity of chalk (impurities) lead white and carbon black. In the lower half of the painting at the left and in the centre the x-radiograph reveals horizontal and occasionally diagonal (from the top right to the bottom left) streaky brushstrokes. These are also visible in raking light and do not correspond with the painted image. They may result from the ground (lead white?) application or the greyish imprimatura.
  • Underdrawing
  • Isolated black drawn lines are visible through the paint layers in areas of the mouth with the naked eye and under the stereomicroscope and were probably executed with a stylus. No further lines were discovered employing infrared reflectography.
    • examined by: Ulrike Hügle
    • examined by: Mathias Lang
    • Date: 06.10.2015
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
    • Identification of wood species: oak
      [Klein Report, 06.10.2015]
      • analysed by: Peter Klein
      • Date: 01.02.2015
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Instrumental material analysis
      • Pigment identification with XRF and optical spectroscopy [see pdf]
        At all the points measured lead was detected (probably a lead based pigment in the ground or the imprimatura).
        Blue: 1 (background): copper based pigment (probably azurite), lead white
        Red: 6 (flesh paint of the hand): some vermilion, lead white; 5 (lips): probably retouching (large quantity of zinc and chrome)
        Brown: 4 (hair): probably ochre, lead white, some vermilion, some copper based pigment, large quantity of zinc (siccative?)
        Black: 2 (signature): probably carbon black; 3 (coat):probably carbon black, some copper based pigment, large quantity of zinc (siccative?)
        [Jens Bartoll/SPSG Berlin, Feb. 2015]
        • analysed by: Jens Bartoll
        • Date: 01.02.2015
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • UV-light photography
        • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV ImagesCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - UV Images
          • photographed by: Ulrike Hügle
          • Date: 01.02.2015
          • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
          • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
          • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - AnalysisCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Analysis
          • optical assessment and radial/tangential section examined employing transmitted light microscopy
            • analysed by: Mathias Lang
            • analysed by: Ulrike Hügle
            • analysed by: Martina Homolka
            • analysed by: Antje Liebers
            • Date: 01.02.2015
            • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
            • Infrared reflectography
            • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - Infrared Images
              • photographed by: Mathias Lang
              • Date: 01.02.2015
              • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
              • X-radiography
              • Copy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - X-RadiographsCopy after Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin - Martin Luther on his Deathbed - X-Radiographs
              • [Christoph Schmidt, Gemäldegalerie Berlin; Feb. 2015]
                • created by: Christoph Schmidt
                Condition Reports:
                • Date: 2016
                • Support: The support exhibits a slight concave warp. The greatest distance between the contact surface and the reverse of the panel is 1.1 cm. Although strange sunken areas in the paint layers were visible in raking light old woodworm damage cannot be readily identified in the x-radiograph. A small vertical split in the panel runs from the top edge of the painting through the face. There are losses at the left on the bottom edge and at the centre of the right side. Paint layers: The ground and paint layers exhibit adequate adhesion to each other and to the support. The entire surface appears very homogenous with little craquelé. A fine network of cracking has only developed in some areas containing white. This can be observed for example in the area of the pillow at the top left and also below the left shoulder of the sitter. There are small losses some exposing the wood and others only the ground above all along the top and bottom edges, but also isolated along both sides and in the centre of the painting. Some small and larger relatively shallow scratches are visible in the upper paint layer at the top right and left of the centre. In addition there are dark streaks in the left and right corners and along the left edge at the centre. There are also discoloured retouches in the corners as well as isolated ones scattered over the entire surface.
                • examined by: Ulrike Hügle
                • examined by: Mathias Lang
                History of Restoration:
                • Date: 2016
                • Since the painting was acquired by the Deutschen Historischen Museum only preventative measures have been taken. There is no available documentation of earlier interventions. [Mathias Lang, Ulrike Hügle, DHM 2014/2016]