Cranach - Portrait of Martin Luther
Portrait of Martin Luther
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
24.04.2019 - 18:09
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_HLMD_GK73a
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR312-313B
Portrait of Martin Luther[Cat. Darmstadt 1990, No. 76]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Darmstadt 1990, No. 76]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerHessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
RepositoryHessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
Dimensions of support: 36 x 28 cm [Cat. Darmstadt 1990, No. 76]
Painting on beech wood [Cat. Darmstadt 1990, No. 76] [Klein Report, 18.01,1982]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia at the left: serpent with elevated wings, facing right, in black paint and date '1529' [cda 2015]
A bust portrait of Martin Luther against a blue background, facing right. The panel is part of a diptych that also shows a portrait of Katharina von Bora. [Görres, cda 2015]
- probably formerly the property of the landgrave
- since 1843 recorded in the museum
[Cat. Darmstadt 1990, No. 76]
- Frankfurt 2007, No. 41
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Florence 201764under no. 1
Bonnet, Görres 201556-5717p. 57
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007194-19541p. 195
Ermischer 2007Fig. 2
Schade, Schuttwolf 199450
Klein 1994 A200Tab. 10
Cat. Darmstadt 1990254-25576p. 255
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979312-313B
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932251a
Cat. Darmstadt 191473
Cat. Darmstadt 1843146
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 14.05.1992
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Support
  • Identification of wood species: beech wood
    Youngest annual ring: 1524
    [Peter Klein Report, 14.05.1992]
    • examined by: Peter Klein
    • Date: 13.07.1990
    • Underdrawing
    • - an underdrawing executed with a pencil is clearly visible to the naked eye. In addition there are prominent lines defining the facial features, e. g. on Luther's nose. The design may have been traced. However, as was established through the infrared examination carried out by Dr. Konrad both types of underdrawing are less easily deciphered in the infrared range than with the naked eye.
      [Conservation report, Hessisches Landesmuseum, 13 July 1990]
        • Date: 01.03.1990
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • Infrared photography
        • Underdrawing
        • - an underdrawing is hardly visible
          [Report, Bernd Konrad 1990]
          • examined by: Bernd Konrad
          • Date: 1989
          • Technical Examination
          • Framing
          • - original frame
            - the side members are attached to the bottom member employing a mortise and tenon join
            - remnants of oil gilding are still visible on the inner profile and the sill
            - there is a latch with a button on the corresponding front edge to close the panel

            [Condition report, Hessisches Landesmuseum 1989]
          • Ground and Imprimatura
          • - no precise barbe. This suggests that the painting was fixed in the frame after completion
          • Support
          • - beech wood
            - bevelled along all four edges and fixed in an engaged frame
            - the reverse has been smoothed with a plane and a chisel
            - original black coating on the reverse, also covers the reverse of the frame members
              • Date: 18.01.1982
              • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
              • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
              • Support
              • - the tree for the wood employed was felled between 1410 and 1524
                [Peter Klein Report, 18 Jan 1982, also 14.05.1992]
                • examined by: Peter Klein
                Condition Reports:
                • Date: 13.07.1990
                • - numerous pierced blisters appear stable; wax is visible in the pinholes, and also in part some varnish - this also covers the losses - the previous cleaning was very thorough; the paint layers in the hair and the fur appear particularly thin - inspection under the stereomicroscope revealed light brown retouches in the hair - a thick wax layer was applied over the varnish; there are also remnants of wax on the frame - an orange-brown varnish is visible in the hollows and particularly in an original dent at the top left edge; whether this varnish is original is difficult to tell - an examination of the remaining gilding on the frame showed that it is a more recent addition and was applied over a thick chalk ground (glue and oil gilding) - tests showed however that the frame is original - 90% of the original gilding has been removed leaving only the ground - three exit holes indicate the presence of woodworm in the past. On both portraits they are located at the bottom edge near the frame; on the portrait of Luther there is a further hole in the top left corner of the frame. [conservation report, Hessisches Landesmuseum, 13 July 1990]
                  • Date: 1989
                  • - thick wax coating - otherwise in good condition [Condition report, Hessisches Landesmuseum 1989]
                    History of Restoration:
                    • Date: 13.07.1990
                    • - on the portrait of Luther a small wooden wedge was inserted between the panel and the frame. In addition the screws were adjusted. - surface dirt removed; stuborn dirt removed with oil of turpentine and white spirits - a significant amount of the wax application was removed - the surface was polished with a silk cloth - to avoid the addition of more layers a new varnish was not applied - dots and dense areas of varnish were removed with a scalpel from the background - two discoloured retouches were removed from Luther's face - retouching was carried out with lean oil paints and varnish to integrate them into the smooth surface - white dots and small losses in the dark areas were inpainted - losses on the frame were filled with a glue/chalk mixture and retouched with water-colours, the exterior of the frame was retouched with poster paints [Conservation report, Hessisches Landesmuseum, 13 July 1990]