Cranach - Lucretia
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
25.05.2020 - 15:18
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_MHK_GK14
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FR (1978) No.FR122
Lucretia[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 95, No. 122] [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, 322, No. 100]
The Suicide of Lucretia[Cat. Cassel 1997, 65-68]
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Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Cassel 1997, 65-68]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 67] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 95, No. 122]
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about 1518[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 95, No. 122] [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68] [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 67]
1525-30[Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, 322, No. 100]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerMuseumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
RepositoryGemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
Dimensions of support: 41.6 x 28.3 cm [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68]
Painting on lime wood [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 95, No. 122] [Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, 322, No. 100]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel: - inscription in green chalk: 'Lucas Cranach proviend de la famille de Sanrart d'Augsburg' - a seal with a coat-of-arms in red sealing wax: a man with raised arms, holding something in his hand; a helmet with a crest of three ostrich feathers - a seal with a coat-of-arms in black sealing wax: two shields next to each other, probably a matrimonial coat-of-arms, on the left one a series of antlers - label: Staatlichen Museen Kassel, 20th century - exhibition label: 'Cranach exhibition 1937, Deutsches Museum, Berlin' [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68]
The panel in Kassel depicts Lucretia as a three-quarter length figure in contemporary dress sitting in front of a landscape. Her head is inclined slightly to the left and she stares into the far distance. Her hands hold the dagger in her lap, and it is pointed towards her breast. Lucretia wears a dark, contemporary dress. The sleeves are stepped and have decorative slits. She wears a white undergarment that billows out above the elbow, and has slipped off her shoulder to reveal her breast. She is framed by a red fur-lined overcoat, which is draped over her left shoulder, falls down her back and emerges on the right to cover her lap. Her blond hair is pinned up artistically and decorated with pearls. Around her neck she wears a heavy chain, a delicate gold necklace and a chain with pearls and precious stones with a renaissance pendant. The precious jewellery is contrasted by the simplicity of the long dagger. There is a mountainous landscape with a castle in the background. [see Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68] 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]
- 1885 acquired from the art dealer Gutekunst, Stuttgart
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68]
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 95, No. 122]
[Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, 322, No. 100]
- not mentioned in the gallery guide book (Galerieführer der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister ) of 1938, probably not on display
[Voigt 1938]
Berlin 1937, No. 34
Frankfurt, London 2007/2008, No. 100
Rome 2010, No. 25
Gotha, Kassel 2015, No. 67
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 201899, fn. 12under no. 16
Dohe 201548
Herrschaft, Heydenreich 201493-942
Exhib. Cat. Rome 2010210, 211No. 25Pl. p. 211
Heydenreich 2007 A416
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007322-323100p. 323
Follak 2002
Cat. Kassel 199765-68Figs. 41, 42, 43
Cat. Kassel 199688
Grewenig 1987105136
Cat. Kassel 198244-45, 62
Friedländer, Rosenberg 197995No. 122Fig. 122
Cat. Kassel 195814
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937No. 34
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193250103
Cat. Kassel 192918, 99141
Glaser 1923233
Cat. Kassel 191313, 5814
Michaelson 190299
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The Lucretia in Kassel differs in size and monumentality from the delicacy of the other Lucretias. The Glogauer Virgin (FR088) and the Virgin dated 1518 in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum are very similar.
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 65-68]
In the series of Lucretia paintings this early painting is the first with a complete landscape in the background and according to the most recent research there is only one other Lucretia from the Cranach workshop in a similar setting. Some of the later works show a view of a landscape visible through a window, like the painting in Coburg (FR121), which is stylistically similar and of about the same date. The Lucretia by an anonymous master from the workshop of Cranach the Elder in the BStGS is stylistically similar to this painting.
[Herrschaft, cda 2010]
Although more decriptive than narrating, the context has not yet been so extensively reduced to leave Lucretia standing against a monochrome backdrop as is the case in many of the later works of this subject from the workshop. Nevertheless the subject of the honest virtue of the heroine and above all her exposure legitimises the beautiful sight for the (male) viewer. [1] An invoice from the Wittenberg court from the year 1518 mentions two depictions of Lucretia, which Cranach had placed in cases - perhap as a form of protection for transportation, but more likely to secure private if not intime contemplation.[2]
The early and initially mostly half-length representations of Lucretia by Cranach from about 1510 can be traced back to a netherlandish pictorial type employed by Joos van Cleve and others, which the artist must have seen during his trip to Antwerp in 1508.[3] Although the panel in Kassel is very similar to this prototype later Cranach's evolution of this subjet took another path, renouncing the motif of gradual disclosure. His workshop produced around about 40 different versions of the subject with varying basic types.
[1] See: Tacke 2010, 10 f.
[2] Schade 1974, 409, No. 151
[3] See Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, 322 under No. 100. As a comparison see other early works from c. 1510: auction New York (Sotheby's), 26. January 2012, No. 34 and in a private collection Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003, 183, No. 78, fig. p. 80

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 224]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2008
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel - Lucretia - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing

    - fluid, black drawing medium, brush

    - freehand underdrawing
    - thin lines

    - relatively binding for the final painted version (evaluation is limited to a detail); the lines delineate the main contours and describe the facial features; no representation of volume with hatching-strokes

    - adjustments were made to forms during the painting process; small changes (e. g. position of the head)


    - Lucas Cranach the Elder or workshop
    - at present there is only a reflectogram of the head available
    [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2016]
    • photographed by: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
    • Date: 1997
    • Technical Examination
    • Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel - Lucretia - Reverse
    • Support
    • Verso: original state, with the exception of two battens, which were adhered at a later date
      [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65]
      The panel consists of two planks. There is a vertical split alongthe left edge area of one of the planks. The condition of the support suggests the wooden panel is sensitive to fluctuations in environmental conditions. In addition the horizontal battens on the reverse of the panel hinder the natural movement of the support.
      [Files of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel, 30.10.2009]
    • Ground and Imprimatura
    • A rebate and barbe have been preserved on all four sides. A black border, in places up to 0.4 cm wide frames the image. It was probably intended to cover the barbe.
      [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65]
        • Date:
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • UV-light photography
        • Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel - Lucretia - UV Images
            Condition Reports:
            • Date: 1997
            • The painting is in very good condition apart from the abrasion of the painted surface in the dark areas. [Cat. Kassel 1997, 65]
              • Date: 1988
              • - examination carried out for the catalogue of Early German painting [Files of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]
                History of Restoration:
                • Date: 1983
                • - conservation treatment by C. Walther [Files of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]
                  • Date: 1961
                  • - minor corection made to old retouches and the varnish [Files of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]