Cranach - Martyrdom of St Matthew des heiligen Matthäus (according to the inscription;  depiction: The Death of St Matthias) from a Cycle of 53 works for the balustrade gallery in the former Marienkirche, Dessau
Martyrdom of St Matthew des heiligen Matthäus (according to the inscription; depiction: The Death of St Matthias) from a Cycle of 53 works for the balustrade gallery in the former Marienkirche, Dessau
Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
painting not preserved
17.09.2019 - 10:30
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_JD-Lost_JD045
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_JD-Lost_JD045
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Martyrdom of St Matthew des heiligen Matthäus (according to the inscription; depiction: The Death of St Matthias) from a Cycle of 53 works for the balustrade gallery in the former Marienkirche, Dessau[cda 2018]
Attribution:
Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
Dating:
about 1553
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerEv. Kirchgemeinde St. Johannis und St. Marien, Dessau
Repositorypainting not preserved
Location
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: c. 76.5-78 x 65 cm [Harksen 1937, 21]
Support:
Painting on canvas [Harksen 1937, 22]
Signature / Date:
Cranach the Younger's signature 'LVCAS CRANACH DER MITLER MAL.[ER]' and the family coat of arms, the winged serpent, are on 'The Last Judgment', which was the last picture in the series. [Tacke 1994, 85]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
- at the bottom, on paper: Inscription: 'MATTHES LINDAW ZV/ CZERBST'; in the sky: 'S: MATHEVS' [Harksen 1937, 25]
Description:
53 paintings for the balustrade gallery of the former Marienkirche in Dessau illustrating subjects from the old and new testaments commissioned in 1553 by Duke Georg III of Anhalt. Cranach the Younger's signature 'LVCAS CRANACH DER MITLER MAL.[ER]' and the family coat of arms, the winged serpent, are on 'The Last Judgment', which was the last picture in the series. Sadly the entire series was destroyed together with the church during World War Two. Various donors provided funding for the 53 works and some were represented in the paintings with their portraits. The donors' coats of arms and a short text with their name and title were added to the bottom of each image. Georg III of Anhalt, his brothers and other family members are represented most frequently. However the nobility of Anhalt and the courtiers of Dessau were also involved. The inscriptions and coats of arms were painted on paper and stuck onto the bottom of the painting after completion. The donors not only paid for their assigned paintings, but also provided financial support for the whole building. [Tacke 1994, 84-86] The cycle began with the most easterly image on the South side and continued over the west gallery to the North side: This painting depicts: Martyrdom of St Matthew des heiligen Matthäus (according to the inscription; depiction: The Death of St Matthias); simplified composition after the woodcut Hollstein 64 Inscription: 'MATTHES LINDAW ZV/ CZERBST'; in the sky: 'S: MATHEVS' [Harksen 1937, 25]
Provenance:
- commissioned by Duke Georg III of Anhalt 1553 for the gallery balustrade in the former Marienkirche, Dessau
- the church and all its furnishings were destroyed by fire during the Second World War.
[Tacke 1994, 84-86]
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Tacke 1994 A
Harksen 1937221
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
According to [Tacke 1994, 86-87] a comparison with the paintings from the series represented by illustrations in the inventory [Harksen 1937] reveals that twelve of the compositions drew on works by Cranach the Elder and three on works by Dürer. […] Cranach the Younger borrowed from his father’s woodcut cycle ‘The Martyrdom of the Apostles’ for his own depictions. […] He used compositions from Albrecht Dürer’s painted series of ‘The Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of the Virgin’ for the representations of ‘The Circumcision’, ‘The Nativity’ and ‘The Nailing to the Cross’. […] Copies of these paintings by a member of the Cranach workshop are preserved in the Erlangen’s university library. […] Furthermore Cranach the Younger drew on drawings from an earlier large workshop commission [the Saints and Passion Cycle for the collegiate Church in Halle] for the ‘Scenes of the Passion’. These drawings are also preserved in Erlangen.
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 1937
  • Technical Examination
  • Support
  • - canvas
    - donors' coats of arms on paper [...] and adhered to the bottom of each painting
  • Paint Layers and Gilding
  • [...] highlights applied with brushstrokes of gold paint [shell gold?], haloes gilded with an application of gold leaf
    [Harksen 1937, 21]
    • written by: Marie-Luise Harksen
    History of Restoration:
    • Date: 1930
    • Restored after 1900 by Prof. Bernatz, Munich; overpaint and retouches are present on all paintings [Harksen 1937, 21]
    • conservation treatment by: Max Bernatz
    • Date: 1800
    • Numerous paintings from the gallery balustrade were touched up during a restoration campaign at the end of the 18th century. [Harksen 1937, 21]