Cranach - The Baptism of Christ
The Baptism of Christ
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Grunewald hunting lodge
02.07.2020 - 06:56
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SPSG_GKI2087
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR-none
The Baptism of Christ[CDA 2012]
Lucas Cranach the Younger [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerHohenzoller dynasty, Georg Friedrich Prince of Prussia
RepositoryGrunewald hunting lodge
Dimensions of support: 62 x 82 cm [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
Painting on lime wood (Tilia sp.) [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia lower right: serpent (with dropped wings) and date '1556'
The painting depicts the baptism of Christ in the foreground on the right. St John kneels behind Christ on the bank. The scene is linked to the representation of a group of nobility and important reformers. The woman in regal dress is Margarete of Brandenburg and she turns to her brother Johann of Küstrin. Her husband Johann IV of Anhalt is depicted on the left edge in the foreground. His brother Georg (with a book in his hand) and Joachim stand beside him. Georg is flanked by Luther and Melanchthon. The head of Lucas Cranach the Elder appears between Johann of Anhalt and Luther. The townscape in the background shows Dessau, which is identified by the castle and the Marienkirche. [see Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
- probably commissioned by Joachim of Anhalt
- 1818 acquired in Berlin from an unknown source
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
Berlin 2009/10, Cat.-No. IV.33
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Rhein 201548
Wolf 2015169-175, 177Figs. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Waterman 2015285, Fn. 26; 286
Werner 201513
Most, Wolf et al. 200990-91
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009 A224-225No. IV.33Fig. IV.33
Schulze 2004159-160Fig. p. 279
Rabenau 199715, 17
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974495, 497No. 347Fig. 274
Schade 197493-94Plate 220
Schade 1968 B69-70
Börsch-Supan 196450-52No. 54
Seidel 1907379
Rumpf 1823379
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
‚The painting is both a memory and confessional image. It not only recalls the marriage between Margarete and Johann of Anhalt, but also commemorates important people of the reformation, who had since passed away: Luther, Johann and Georg of Anhalt as well as Cranach who is celebrated here as the artist of the reformation.
This pictorial form was to become one of the most important Protestant confessional images and was frequently employed by Cranach the Younger for commissions from Anhalt.’
[Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 224-225, IV.33]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.01.2010
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Grunewald hunting lodge - The Baptism of Christ - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing



    - dry drawing material, dark chalk; combined with a fluid medium and a brush


    - freehand underdrawing

    - delicate, fine lines


    - relatively binding for the final painted version; 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



    - Lucas Cranach the Younger

    [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2019]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner