Cranach - Damnation and Redemption
Damnation and Redemption
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
21.08.2019 - 02:55
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SMG_SG676
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SMG_SG676
FR (1978) No.FR221
Title:
Damnation and Redemption[cda 2010]
Verdammnis und Erlösung[Schneider 1868, Abt. V, No. 67][1], [Aldenhoven 1890, No. 333][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Ein Stück wie Johannes der Täuffer, Adam auf Christum weiset, und deßen Bluth auf ihn sprizet, nebst der Beschreibung des Alten Testaments[Inventar 1721, fol. 169, No. 82][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
der glaube an den gecreutzigten Jesu mit beider seits Bildnüßen, wie auch der Todes, Teuffel und der Welt[Nachlass-Inventar 1681, No. 4][1], 'In the picture chamber under the roof'[1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Die Creutzigung Christi'Lux Mahler.. Die Creutzigung Christi' (?), [Inventar 1659, fol. 1, No. 2][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Kreuzigung (?)'Kreuzigung'(?), [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 9][1] (this painting was later sold)[1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Gesetz vndt Evangelium''Gesetz vndt Evangelium an Zweyen Taffelln' or the following work? 'Streitt des geistes wieder das fleisch Vndt des fleisches wieder den Geist'', [Inventar Weimar 1638, fol. 2][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
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Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 42] [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20] 'Cranach, Lucas Sunders' [Verzeichnis 1826, fol. 59, No. 70][1] 'Lux Mahler...' (?) [Inventar 1659, fol. 1, No. 2][1](not this work, but the pendant) [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Dating:
1529[dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
RepositoryStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
LocationGotha
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 82.2 x 118 cm [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20] Dimensions including frame: 100 x 136 cm [Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha, 2000]
Support:
Painting on lime wood [Klein, Report 2013] [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20, 214]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the tree trunk in the centre of the picture: winged serpent with elevated wings, facing right and dated '1529'; in yellow paint
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Text block with biblical quotations: - bottom edge of the painting from right to left: 'Vom Regenbogen und gericht. Ess wird Gottes zorn offenbart vom himmel vber aller menschen Gotloss leben vnd vnnrecht. Roman. 1./ wier seind allzümal sünder vnndt mangelnn des preises /das sie sich Gottes nicht rühmen mügen Roman. 1./ Vom Teüffel vnd Todt / Die Sünnde ist des Todes spieß aber das gesetz ist der sünden / krafft.1.corinth.15. Das gesetz Richtet zornn ahn. Roman.4./Vom Mose vnd den Propheten / Durch das gesetz kömet erkentnüs der sünden Roman.3. / Matthei.11./ Das gesetz vndt propheten gehen bis auff Johannes zeitt./ Vom Menschen / Der geRechte lebett seines glaübens Roman.1./ wier halten das ein mensch geRecht werde den glaüwen / on werch des gesetzs Roman.3. /Vom Teuffer / Sihe das ist gottes Lamb das der welt sunde tregt / sant Johannes Baptist Johannis.2. / In der heiligüng des geistes zum gehorssam vnd bespreg / üng des blütes Jesü Christi amen.1.petri.1./ Von Tode vnd Lamb / Der Tod ist verschlungen v(o)m sieg Tod wo ist dein spisß / helle wo ist dein sieg: danck hab Gott der vns den siegk gegeben / hat dürch Jesüm christüm vnsern herren.1.coerinth.15.' - black paint over white underpaint
Description:
For Luther the sins of man are inextricably linked to the human condition and the believer therefore requires Moses' commandments to be aware of his sinfulness. He must realize that an attempt to fulfill the commandments set down by the censorious Old Testament God is condemned to failure and will dispair over this. This despair is as it were the prerequisite for salvation through Christ and the Gospel. In accordance with the distinction between the Law and the Gospel as highlighted by Luther the painting in Gotha exhibits a dichotomic composition. The image is divided at the centre into two halves by a tree, which is dried out on the left and bears green foliage on the right. The forlorn, sinful man is chased by Death and the Devil into the blazing flames of hell on the left. He looks to the right where Moses, standing among a group of Old Testament prophets, points at the tablets bearing the Ten Commandment. By depicting Original Sin and the Last Judgement in an expansive landscape both the source of and the punishment for mankind's transgression are indicated. Also represented is the scene where the brazen serpent is lifted up ¿ an episode from the Old Testament which played a significant role for Luther and typologically prefigures the crucifixion -, illustrating how the Israelites were saved from the poisonous snake bites by following God's instructions. To the right of the tree trunk St John the Baptist is shown with the naked man from the left side. John as the last prophet before Christ represents Luther between the Law and the Gospel, which is why he is assigned the role of mediator here. The naked man stands calmly with his hands folded, while St John draws his attention to the crucifixion at the right edge of the painting. Blood spurts out of the wound in Christ's side and lands on the naked man's chest. The Holy Ghost represented as a dove appears in the blood. It is manifested here that only Christ, who died in place of mankind and whose good news is transmitted by the Holy Spirit, can revoke the damnation levied by the Law. Only through his faith, sola fide, can mankind be blessed with the divine forgiveness represented by the blood. Through the Resurrection of Christ, who ascends into the sky above the tombstone behind the cross, the Devil and Death, who had pursued the sinner on the left side are banished: both lie vanquished in front of the cross beneath the Lamb of God. Like the Risen Christ it also holds a victory banner. Here however the sinner from the side illustrating the Law is righteous, whereby the panel in Gotha elucidates the issue of simul iustus et peccator. In the background on the right side the annunciation to the shepherds is represented outside the gates of Bethlehem. Like the raising of the brazen serpent, which is shown next to it on the other side of the tree, this scene depicts mankind's recognition of God's word. For the viewer it is apparent that both the Law and the Gospel proclaim the same good news, which always leads to Christ. Quotations from the Old and New testaments on the lower part of the panel emphasize this statement, while at the same time serving as a biblical legitimization of the image. [Görres, in Bonnet, Kopp-Schmitt, Görres 2010, 170]
Provenance:
- 1638 recorded in the 'Grünen Schloss' in Weimar, (Residence of the Elector Ernst of Saxony-Weimar, who later became the Elector of Gotha)
'Gesetz vndt Evangelium an Zweyen Taffelln' or the work listed below ?
'Streitt des geistes wieder das fleisch Vndt des fleisches wieder den Geist', [Inventar Weimar 1638, fol. 2][1]
- 1644 in the 'Gotha Kaufhaus'
[Inventar 1644, fol. 30][1]
- recorded in Gotha Castle since 1656
[Inventar 1656, fol. 1 No. 9][1] (not this work)
- recorded in the Kunstkammer in Gotha Castle since 1721
[Inventar 1721, fol. 169, No. 82][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 20]
Exhibitions:
Dresden 1899, No. 44
Basel 1974, 505
Berlin 1983, No. E 52.1, 357-360, Colour Plate 328
Gotha 1994
Gotha 2001. No. 1.4
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 42
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Price 201719-21, 26Fig. 6
Exhib. Cat. Prague 201660, 65, 163, 167
Görres 2015 B41pl. 22
Spira 201557
Poulsen 2015 A68
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 201549
Bonnet, Görres 201558-5918p. 59
Münch 2007131-132Fig. 12
Koepplin 2007 B64, 67, 71, 767
Exhib. Cat. Prague 200574, 76-78 (English version 32, 33)under no. 11Pl. p. 77
Koepplin 2003 C150, 151Fig. 54
Heydenreich 1998 A184
Schade, Schuttwolf 199420, 21, 351.3Fig. p. 20, Pl. p. 35
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 199420
Liebmann 198728
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1983357-360E52.1Fig. p. 328
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979114No. 221Fig. 221
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974506-507
Schade 197474
Kallensee 196744Fig. 14
Thulin 1955126161
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193263, 64183
Förster 1909117
Meier 1909415
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899No. 44
Parthey 1863-1864687 (Bd. 1)No. 157
Schuchardt 1851 C63-64307
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
'Cranach probably received advice from a theologian regarding the basic reformist idea illustrated in this didactic image. The inspiration presumably came from Melanchthon, as he writes in a letter to Stigel, that he tended to provide Cranach with biblical subject matter to illustrate...'

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932, 64]
Whereas the Cranach workshop subsequently only drew upon the pictorial type represented by the Prague version for graphic works, the pictorial formula employed for the panel in Gotha prevailed in painted versions. Examples are the panel from Königsberg (East Prussia) (1532), now lost, a version in Nuremberg (about 1535) [DE_BStGS-GNMN_Gm220; DE_BStGS-GNMN_Gm221], a work created in 1536 and auctioned in 2014 at Christies (New York), as well as a version in Weimar (1539) [DE_KSW_G12a] and Wittenberg(about 1550) (Cat. No. 47).
[Benjamin D. Spira, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 170]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 08.04.2013
  • Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Support
  • Identification of wood species:
    "lime wood - dating not 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 - Damnation and Redemption - Infrared Images
    • Underdrawing
    • DESCRIPTION

      Tools/Materials:
      - dry drawing material and pointed brush (?)

      Type/Ductus:
      - freehand underdrawing

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

      Deviations:
      - minor alterations made during the painting process

      INTERPRETATION

      Attribution:
      - not possible

      [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
      • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
      • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
      History of Restoration:
      • Date: 1999
      • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - ConservationLucas Cranach the Elder - Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha - Damnation and Redemption - Conservation
      • Summary of treatment report (see pdf for complete version in German): - areas of paint loss - large areas of overpaint and retouches - yellowed/patchy varnish
      • Summary of treatment report (see pdf for complete version in German): - varnish removal (with acetone) - removal of the overpaint and the old retouching (with acetone) - open splits filled - retouching (in water-colour) - application of the final varnish (Dammar)
      • conservation treatment by: Angela Möller
      • photographed by: D. Demme