Cranach - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony
Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
18.02.2019 - 11:56
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SMG_SG12
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SMG_SG12
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony[cda 2011]
Deßen Frau Gemahlin in halber Leibes Statur'Deßen Frau Gemahlin in halber Leibes Statur und altteutschen schwarzen Habit, mit Gold ausgezieret, an dem Hals Geschmeide die Worte zu lesen Alß in Ehren, in Ehren', [Inventar 1721, fol. 491, No. 56][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27]
Seiner Fürstl. Gnad. [Kurfürst Johann Friedrichs] Gemahlin, gebohrne Hertzogin zu Jülich, Cleve vndt Bergk[Inventar 1644, fol. 28][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27]
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Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 88] [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27]
Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop[cda 2018]
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Dating:
1535[dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
RepositoryStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
LocationGotha
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 20.2 x 14 cm [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27] Dimensions of painted surface: 20.1 x 14 cm [cda 2010] Dimensions including frame: 23.5 x 17.5 x 1.4 cm [cda 2010]
Support:
Painting on beech wood [Klein, Report 2013] [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27, 214]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia in the bottom right corner: winged serpent with elevated wings, facing left and dated '1535'; in black paint
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
Motto: - embroidered on the collar: 'ALS.IN.ERN / EREN.ALS' - embroidered on the headscarf: 'ALES . IN. E'
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel: - centre: remains of a paper label: handwritten entry in pencil: 363; paper label: handwritten entry in brown ink '610'; handwritten in chalk: '72' - bottom, left: printed yellow label: 'Schlossmuseum Gotha/Inv.-No.:/S.G.No.:/Alte No.:', handwritten entry in black ink: '53'; '72'; '363 Ahv.'; inscription in red ink: '[Zentr]al-museum/Gotha [...]' Reverse of the frame: - bottom right: paper label: handwritten in blue ink: '53/72'
Description:
Sibylle folds her arms demurely and the viewer is captivated by her graceful silhouette. The visible brushstrokes indicate that like in many of the portraits by Cranach the blue background was painted around the contours of the figure. [...] Her clothing exhibits the feature of an inscribed motto 'Alles in Ehren', which appears multiple times and evidently emphasizes sustainability through this repetition. [Sebastian Dohe, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 258]
Provenance:
- 1644 in 'Kaufhaus Gotha' [Inventar 1644, fol. 28][1]
- recorded in the Gothaer Kunstkammer since 1721 [Inventar 1721, fol. 491, No. 56][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 27]
Exhibitions:
Gotha 1994
Gotha 2001, No. 1.9
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 88
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 20011.9
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 199427
Klein 1994 B214
Schade, Schuttwolf 199427, 411.9fig. p. 27, Pl. p. 41
Cat. Weimar 199231
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193279271
Parthey 1863-1864693 (Bd. 1)No. 253
Schuchardt 1851 C65-66310
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
It is questionable whether or not the portraits were created for a particular occasion: the date of creation '1535' located next to the signature is both the year of the birth and death of Johann Ernst, one of the pairs sons. In 1535 Johann Friedrich also acheived some success within the context of his strained relationship with the Habsburgs being officially granted electoral dignity by King Ferdinand on behalf of the emperor, and at the end of the year a federal convention took place for the Schmalkaldic League. There were therefore numerous official occasions for which such a double portrait may have been used and here as was frequently the case with Cranach portraits for the Ernestine court it is a variation of particular pictorial type. This is illustrated by the comparision with a double portrait in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen dated to 1533 and of an almost identical size, but exhibiting a slight variation in the attire and the position of the arms. The Gotha portraits were not subsequently used as a gift to a foreign party. It is more likely that they were used within the family to illustrate the dynastic descent as they can be traced back to the collection of Ernst the Pious of Saxony-Gotha and Altenburg, the greatgrandson of the sitters.
[Sebatian Dohe, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 258]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 08.04.2013
  • Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Support
  • - beech wood, no measurement possible
    [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 214]
    • analysed by: Peter Klein
    • Date: 01.04.2010
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Infrared reflectography
    • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - Infrared Images
    • Underdrawing
    • DESCRIPTION

      Tools/Materials:
      - dry medium (dark chalk?)

      Type/Ductus:
      - freehand underdrawing in combination with traced lines (head)
      - thin lines

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

      Deviations:
      - minor alterations made during the painting process (hands)

      INTERPRETATION

      Attribution:
      - not possible

      Comments:
      - probably with reference to a preparatory drawing or transferred from a pre-existing design (traced)

      [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
      • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
      • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
      • Date: 1995
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • X-radiography
      • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - X-Radiographs
        • created by: Asmus Steuerlein
        • Date: 1994
        • Technical Examination
        • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - ReverseLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - OverallLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - Detail Images
        • Framing
        • - original frame
          - frame with mitred joints; a Gothic cornice; water-guilding on red bole; external batten, sides and the reverse are painted black
          • written by: Gunnar Heydenreich
          History of Restoration:
          • Date: 2000
          • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Sibylle of Cleve, Duchess of Saxony - Conservation
            • written by: Angela Möller