Cranach - Virgin on the crescent moon venerated by Hieronymus Rudelauf
Virgin on the crescent moon venerated by Hieronymus Rudelauf
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Städel Museum Frankfurt a.M.
16.05.2022 - 06:46
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SMF_1731
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FRSup006H
Virgin on the crescent moon venerated by Hieronymus Rudelauf[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
before 1523[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStädel Museum Frankfurt a.M.
RepositoryStädel Museum Frankfurt a.M.
LocationFrankfurt am Main
Dimensions of support: 89.9 x 60.3 x 1.3 cm
[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]

Dimensions of painted surface: 87.8 x 59.4 cm
[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
Painting on lime wood (Tilia sp.)
[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
until the conservation treatment in 1991 there was an inauthentic inscription (probably 19th century) above the coat-of-arms:
ANNO 1500'

Reverse of the panel:
- yellow label 'Atelier für Retouchiren u. Einrahmen v. Bildern, P. Reinermann, Frankfurt a/M., Bornheimer Landstrasse 280a' (early 20th century)

[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
The Mother of God is shown standing on a silver crescent moon in a mandorla against a gilded gold background. Her right leg is set back slightly and she has moved her left leg forward making it visible through her dress from the knee down and the black tip of her shoe protrudes beyond the crescent. The Christ Child sits on her left arm. He gazes up towards his mother's face. His right hand rests on an apple, which his mother offers him with her right hand. The Virgin attends to her child; she has turned her head to the right and bends over in the same direction. She wears a small gold-wired crown on her head. The locks of her blond hair fall evenly over both shoulders, on her left it reaches the child's shoulder and falls down his side. Over a blue undergarment the Virgin wears an iridenscent pink coat with a bright green lining. The hem of the coat slips off her right shoulder, looping broadly around her right arm, whereby the large turn-up stands out as a consistent green shape [...].
The mandorla is created by the surrounding dark blue clouds. These are compact and appear to crowd in from the edge and are dotted with isolated heads of cherubs, with grey-white, green or yellow pairs of wings. On either side three angels float in front of the clouds and venerate the Virgin. It is striking that without exception they all wear vestments: the amice is common to them all, whereas the robes vary, depending on whether the wearer is characterised as a priest, a deacon or a sub-deacon. The first angel floats towards the Virgin from the top left with his hands held in front of him angled to the right in an attitude of prayer; he wears a green dalmatica and beneath a white alba. Half way up the painting the back of an angel in a yellow tunic is visible, turning right into the pictorial space. The bottom angel on the left side is shown in three-quarter profile and appears behind the donor's head with his arms crossed in front of his chest in an ancient devotional gesture and gazes upwards. He wears a green damatica with fringes. On the right side the uppermost angel floats diagonally forward to the left and towards the centre of the image with outstretched arms. He wears an iridescent dark red chasuble over an orange-red tunic. Beneath him an angel kneels, facing left in three-quarter profile, he lowers his hands in an attitude of prayer and gazes up at the Mother of God in veneration. His dalmatica consists of a black patterned gold brocade; under which a white alba is visible. At the bottom right once again we encounter an angel from the reverse this time in a green tunic. He kneels so that the bare soles of his feet are visible, his hands are raised to chest height and his mouth is open: he appears to be singing or reciting.
In the bottom left corner a half-length figure of the donor is included in the painting (to about hip height). The old man is turned to the right in an attitude of prayer. Over a light coloured shirt he wears a dark robe, over which he wears a black, large patterned cloak with fur-trimming. The sitter has stuck his arms through the slits in the sleeves of his cloak. His aged face is framed by a grey beard. His narrow mouth with its compressed lips and his aquiline nose bestow him with a particular severity. He wears a precious gold cap on his head; on his right ring finger he wears a simple gold band. On the right beside his head his coat-of-arms covers the tip of the crescent moon.

[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
- since 1911lent to the Städel by Freiherr Adolph von Holzhausen im Städel
- 1923 acquired as a bequest from the above mentioned owner

[Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
- Frankfurt/London 2007/2008, No. 65
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Tacke 201584Fig. 2
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007250-25165p. 251
Koepplin 2007 B76
Cat. Frankfurt 2005235-242
Cat. Frankfurt 199917, 30pl. 22
Heydenreich 1998 A191Fig. 21.10
Tacke 1991 B191-198
Waldeis 1991197
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979113217A
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932161Sup6H
Rieffel 1911346
Michaelson 190253
Flechsig 1900 A101
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 189983
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 09. 2012
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Städel Museum Frankfurt a.M. - Virgin on the crescent moon venerated by Hieronymus Rudelauf - Infrared Images
  • 8.03 Underdrawing

    - fluid, black medium; brush; possibly combined with a dry drawing material (?)

    - freehand summary underdrawing
    - thin to broader lines; occasionally delicate, fine lines (facial features of the Virgin)

    - relatively binding for the final painted version; the lines define the contours of the figures and partly indicate facial features and some details; no representation of volume

    - adjustments made during the painting process


    - workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder

    - possibly with reference to a pre-existing design

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich cda 2014]
    • photographed by: Städel Museum Frankfurt a.M.
    • Date: 2005
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • X-radiography
    • 8.07
    • [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
        • Date: 2005
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Städel Museum Frankfurt a.M. - Virgin on the crescent moon venerated by Hieronymus Rudelauf - Reverse
        • 8.01 Support
        • - four vertically aligned planks with the grain running vertically
          - widths from left to right:
          Plank I: top 18.1; bottom 20.6 cm
          Plank ll: top 14.5; bottom 15.0 cm
          Plank III: top and bottom 9.9 cm
          Plank IV: top 17.6; bottom 14.6 cm
          - not thinned, roughly smoothed with a gouge, brown coating
          - along the edge of the panel a strip of wood was removed to leave a thickness of 0.8 cm, top and bottom c. 1.2-1.4 cm wide, right and left c. 1.0 cm wide
          - on the right edge of the panel, c. 18 cm below the top edge there is a c. 4 cm knot hole, which was filled at the time of creation by a 7 x 6 cm insert. This is now visible on the painted surface.
        • 8.03 Underdrawing
        • a sparse underdrawing executed with a brush and restricted to contours and a summary rendering of the folds is only occasionally visible in the infrared reflectogram. Most clearly defined are the contours of the Virgin's chin and where her neck begins
        • 8.05 Framing
        • modern

          [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
        • 8.04 Paint Layers and Gilding
        • the original painted edges are retained on all four sides along with the barb of the ground; at the top and bottom there is c. 1 cm of bare wood to the panel edge, 0.5-0.7 cm on the left and 0.3 - 0.5 cm on the right
            • Date: 2005
            • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
            • Infrared reflectography
            • 8.07
            • [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
                Condition Reports:
                • Date: 2005
                • The gilding has been completely redone. There are retouches particularly along the joins between I/II and II/III; the Virgin's forehead is particularly affected. The pink coat in particular on the thigh has been extensively retouched over areas of cupping. Retouching in the face and coat of the donor as well as the undergarment and dalmatica of the angel at the top right. Numerous other small retouches. The green dalmatica of the angel at the bottom right has been unevenly overcleaned.

                  [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]
                  History of Restoration:
                  • Date: 1991
                  • until the conservation treatment in 1991 there was an inauthentic inscription above the coat-of-arms:
                    RVDELLANT AETA.
                    TIS SVAE 74 IAHR
                    ANNO 1500'

                    [Cat. Frankfurt 2005, 235-242]