Cranach - The Suicide of Lucretia
The Suicide of Lucretia
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Coburg
25.05.2020 - 14:48
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_KSVC_M162
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR121
The Suicide of Lucretia[CDA 2010]
Lucretia[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 94, No. 121]
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Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 94, No. 121] [Maedebach, Cat. Coburg 1969]
Hans Cranach [Flechsig 1900 B, 32, No. 123]
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about 1518 - 1519[Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
about 1530[Flechsig 1900 B, 32, No. 123] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 97, No. 121]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
RepositoryKunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, Coburg
Dimensions of support: 85.5 x 57.5 x 1.2 cm [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 94, No. 121] [Maedebach, Cat. Coburg 1969] '1 Fuß 6 Zoll x 1 Fuß 1 Zoll' [Schuchardt 1851 A, 37, No. 70]
Painting on beech wood [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94] Klein Bericht 03.03.2016] [Maedebach, Exhib. Cat. Coburg 1972, No. 10] Painting on lime wood [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 94, No. 121] [Maedebach, Cat. Coburg 1969] [Posse 1942, 57, No. 43]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the left side of the balustrade: winged serpent with elevated wings [Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, revised 2010]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse: - on the frame at the left: handwritten: '714' [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
The painting depicts Lucretia as a three-quarter length, standing nude figure. Her head is inclined slightly to the left and she stares into the far distance. She points the dagger at her chest with her right hand. The long dagger has already inflicted a small wound just below her breasts. She holds the hand of her left raised arm in front of her. A transparent veil is draped over Lucretia's shoulders and is blown to the right by a breeze to cover her vulva. The only jewellery she wears is an armband. Her hair is equally simple - two knots at the side with some loose strands of hair. An interior is indicated in the background. On the right there is a vague indication of a red curtain and on the left there is a window through which there is a view of a wooded landscape with a river and two castles. Lucretia's overcoat, which is green and fur-trimmed lies beneath the window. According to the legend Lucretia lived in the 6th century BC and was the beautiful and virtuous wife of the roman Collatinus. The roman King's son - Sextus Tarquinius fell in love with her. During a stay in her house Sextus threatened to kill her and shame her honour if she did not surrender to him. After the rape Lucretia had her father and husband vow vengeance and then she stabbed herself. The event led to an uprising in which the royal family was overthrown and the Roman Empire became a Republic. Depictions of Lucretia who was seen as the epitomy of female virtue, chastity, fidelity and honour enjoyed great popularity, particularly in the 16th century. [Literature: Bierende 2002, Follak 2002, Livius 1909]
- 1851 recorded in Coburg Castle, Ducal property, Coburg
[Schuchardt 1851 A, 37, No. 70]
- 1876 Ducal Art and Antiquities Collection, Coburg (Herzogliche Kunst- und Altertümersammlungen der Veste Coburg (HKA))
- 1919 Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg (KVC)
- 1921 displayed in the residential quarters of the Ducal Palace (Fürstenbau), Coburg
- April 1945 until August 1947 transferred to Banz monastery during World War 2
[Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
Dresden 1899, No. 86
Berlin 1937, No. 35
Coburg 1969
Coburg 1972, No. 10
Rome 2010, No. 24
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 201894-96, 98, 9916Pl. p. 95, Fig. 1
Weschenfelder 2018 A20
Exhib. Cat. Rome 2010207 - 209No. 24Pl. p. 209
Heydenreich 2007 A416
Bierende 2002
Follak 2002
Friedländer, Rosenberg 197994No. 121Fig. 121
Schade 1977
Schade 197469
Cat. Coburg 1972No. M162
Cat. Coburg 196919
Giesecke 1955181-192
Lüdecke 1953 B92Fig. 99
Cat. Coburg 195138
Posse 194326, 57No. 43
Posse 194226, 57No. 43
Lilienfein 194275f.Fig. 99
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937No. 35
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193248102
Glaser 1923Fig. 209
Voss, Lehfeldt 1907559
Flechsig 1900 B32No. 123
Woermann 190025, 55, 78
Flechsig 1900 A279No. 86
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899No. 86
Schuchardt 1851 C3770
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Schade considers this a curious depiction of Lucretia. He compares her softly modelled hand with the work of Francesco Francia and describes the view out of the window as an italian landscape.
[Schade 1977, 69]
Invoice for two paintings of Lucretia by Cranach in the year 1518
[Heydenreich 2007 A, 416]
It may be this painting of Lucretia for which Cranach received the sum of 1 fl
[Herrschaft, cda 2010]
In the series of Lucretia depictions this early painting is the first nude. There is a landscape is the background similar to the painting in Kassel (FR122), which was presumably created at the same time. However, here it is only visible in part through a window. the same template appears to have been employed for both paintings. [Herrschaft, cda 2010]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2018
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Dendrochronology / identification of wood species
  • Support
  • - beech wood
    - two vertically aligned planks. Plank I: 26.9 cm; plank II: 30.6 cm
    - there is a rebate on all four edges, 1.3 cm wide, 0.6 cm in height. The panel was originally fitted in a grooved frame.
    - Dendrochronology: the following annual rings were recorde and measured: plank II: 147 annual rings, 1516-1370; plank II: 155 annual rings, 1505-1351. Generally with beech wood the entire section is used and only the bark is removed, therefore it can be estimated that the earliest felling date was 1516. The wood was then seasoned for at least two years before it could be used (Klein 2016).
  • Ground and Imprimatura
  • - chalk ground
    - the ground and paint layers do not extend as far as the edges of the panel ( original painted edge)
  • Framing
  • - Karl Pfefferle, Munich, 1964
    [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
      • Date: 03.03.2016
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Dendrochronology / identification of wood species
      • Support
      • Identification of wood species: beech wood

        Dendrochronology: plank I 147 annual rings 1516 -1370; plank II 155 annual rings 1505 -1351

        The youngest annual ring is from 1516.

        [Klein report, 03.03.2016]
        • analysed by: Peter Klein
        Condition Reports:
        • Date: 2018
        • Support: - cradled on the reverse. The surface was sanded down and open worm channels were exposed. The pine wood cradle was glued to the reverse with PVA. The horizontal members have since been removed. Paint layers: - various retouches; some were broadly applied and extend beyond the actual losses; they appear matt and lean; the retouches are located along the join and in various abraded areas of the flesh paint. Varnish: - traces of a previous partial cleaning, after which a new varnish was applied [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
          History of Restoration:
          • Date: 1975
          • Restoration [Cat. Coburg 2018, 94]
          • conservation treatment by: Richard Harzenetter