Cranach - The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann]
The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann]
Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig
30.03.2017 - 20:24
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SML_kK14
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SML_kK14
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann][Cat. Leipzig 2006, 128]
Attribution:
Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger [Cat. Leipzig 2006, 128]
Dating:
1552-1557[Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 1997, 90]
after 1552[Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, 2010]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig
RepositoryStadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig
LocationLeipzig
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 124 x 171 cm [Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 1997, 90]
Support:
Wood [Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 1997, 90]
Signature / Date:
None
Description:
After a long period of drought and famine the prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab, who had fallen away from the God of Israel, to a contest: he and the priests of Baal should each pray for the heavenly ignition of a burnt offering. Whoevers God sends the fire should be considered the true God. Elijah repeatedly poured water over his own sacrificial animals and the altar. God answered Elijah's prayer and sent fire to his offerings; the altar of the priests of Baal remained without fire. The murder of the priests of Baal after their defeat is shown in the background. At the top right we see Elijah on Mount Carmel requesting the long desired rain, his boys look out for approaching clouds. [Ulrike Dura, Cat. Leipzig 2006, 128] Balthasar Hoffmann knees in prayer on the left, accompanied by his five sons, living and deceased. On the right the painting depicts Hoffmann's two deceased wifes and his four daughters. [cda 2014]
Provenance:
- 1815 rediscovered in the Nikolaikirche, Leipzig
- 1891 recorded in the catalogue of the municipal museum (Städtischen Museum) at that time under Inv. No. 608 as a work by Cranach the Younger
- 1910 the painting was transferred to the Stadtgeschichtliche Museum


[Exhib. Cat. Leipzig, Heidelberg 1997, 90]
Exhibitions:
- Weimar, Wittenberg 1953, No. 55
- Leipzig 1965, No. 91
- Karlsruhe 1991, No. 29
- Leipzig, Heidelberg 1997, pp. 90-91
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Leipzig 2006125-126
Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005242
Exhib. Cat. Torgau 200427-32
Schulze 200459-65
Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 199790-91
Cat. Leipzig 1995227608
Magirius et. al. 1995840
Exhib. Cat. Karlsruhe 199129
Fischer 1978232
Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 196591
Scheidig 1953 B136-139
Gurlitt 189526
Stepner 1675466
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.03.2015
  • Technical Examination
  • Support
  • - Tafel augenscheinlich aus Lindenholz
    - 12 Bretter mit horizontalem Verlauf
    - rückseitig diagonale Spuren von der Glättung mit einem Schropphobel von max. 2,5 cm Breite
    - drei Gratleisten auf die Fugen geleimt (spätere Hinzufügung)
    [Heydenreich, cda 2015]
      • Date: 01.02.2013
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Infrared reflectography
      • Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger - Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig - The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann] - Infrared ImagesWorkshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger - Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig - The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann] - Infrared ImagesWorkshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger - Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig - The Sacrifice of Elijah [epitaph of Balthasar Hoffmann] - Infrared Images
      • Underdrawing
      • DESCRIPTION

        Tools/Materials:
        - dry drawing material, dark chalk

        Type/Ductus:
        - detailed and freehand underdrawing
        - delicate, fine lines

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

        Deviations:
        - minor alterations made during the painting process to clearly define form

        INTERPRETATION

        Attribution:
        - Lucas Cranach the Younger

        Comments:
        - a colour-coding is visible, e.g. beneath the various red tones (possibly executed in a fluid, dark medium?)

        [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2013]
        • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
        • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
        • Date: 1997
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • Infrared refectography
        • Underdrawing
        • An examination of the panel provided clear evidence that the figure kneeling behind Balthasar Hoffmann was a later addition as there was a third small child beneath. The external figure on the left also appears to have been added. The group of women on the right also appear to have been modified: the two maidens were probably added later, however it is not possible to establish, which of the deceased wives (denoted by the band over their mouths) was added. The arrangement of the coats-of-arms indicates that initially only the two tilted symetrically towards each other - the traditional composition for a combined married coat-of-arms - were present, that of Balthasar Hoffmann on the left and beside it that of the family Wiedemann belonging to his second wife Magdalena Wiedmann.
          [Susanne Heiland, Exhib. Cat. Leipzig 1997, 90]