Cranach - The Judgement of Paris
The Judgement of Paris
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
29.09.2020 - 00:16
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SGS_L1255
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR-none
The Judgement of Paris[; 22-07-2015]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [; 22-07-2015]
1530 - 1539"1530er Jahre" [; 01-02-2016]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerPrivate Collection
RepositoryStaatsgalerie Stuttgart
Dimensions of support: 59.4 x 39.5 x 0.6 cm [cda 2015]
Painting on wood [; 22-07-2015]
Signature / Date:
Omega-shaped arch with elavated wings [Elsbeth Wiemann, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, revised 2015]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart inventory label [Elsbeth Wiemann, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, revised 2015]
According to a Greek myth, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite contend for the status of the fairest among them, and it is Paris, the prince of Troy who has grown up as a shepherd, who is chosen to act as judge. He decides in favour of Aphrodite, who has promised him the most beautiful mortal woman - Helen, the wife of the Spartan king Menelaus - in return. With Aphrodite's help, Paris succeeds in abducting Helen, and thus triggers the events leading to the Trojan War. In a woodcut of the theme dating from 1508, Cranach created the basic composition that served as the model for all succeeding painted replicas produced in his workshop; only minor changes were made to the original in each case. That is also true of the version on view here, which is unusual in that the female protagonists pose at the left, leaving the right half of the scene for Paris. As in all other Cranach versions, Paris is depicted as a sleeping knight who experiences the contest of the beauties - accompanied by Hermes, the messenger of the gods - in a dream. Naked except for their jewellery and transparent veils, the goddesses can be distinguished by neither their actions nor their attributes. Cupid, usually present in the scene, is absent here. According to the Christian humanist interpretation, the three goddesses embody three different ways of life - geared towards wisdom, power and lust - between which man must choose. [Elsbeth Wiemann,; 22-07-2015]
- On loan from a private collection since 1985
[; 22-07-2015]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.06.2015
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder - Staatsgalerie Stuttgart - The Judgement of Paris - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
    - fluid, black medium; brush

    - relatively detailed and freehand underdrawing
    - thin to broader lines

    - binding for the final painted version; the lines delineate the main contours and describe essential details and facial features; no representation of volume

    - minor corrections were made to forms during the painting process; small changes


    - Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
    [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2016]
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich