Cranach - Lucretia
Lucretia
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Jagdschloss Grunewald (Grunewald hunting lodge)
12.12.2018 - 02:29
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SPSG_GKI30187
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SPSG_GKI30187
FR (1978) No.FR240Q
Title:
Lucretia[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 118, No. 240Q]
Lukretia[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17]
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Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17] [Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003, 182, No. 82] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 118, Nr. 240Q]
Dating:
1529[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17] [Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003, 182, No. 82]
1526-1537[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 118, Nr. 240Q]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg
RepositoryJagdschloss Grunewald (Grunewald hunting lodge)
LocationGrunewald
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 56.6 x 38.2 cm [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17]
Support:
Painting on Beech wood [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia bottom right: winged serpent (with elevated wings) [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17]
Description:
The painting depicts Lucretia as a standing three-quarter length nude figure with a view of a landscape in the background. Her head is inclined to the right and she looks at the viewer. In her right hand she holds the dagger pointed against her breast and in her left hand she holds her veil. This is wrapped numerous times around both her arms and covers her vulva, but because of its transparency doesn't hide it. She wears a heavy chain and a neckband decorated with pearls around her neck. Her hair is pinned up under a pearl bonnet. The background is dark, but a window on the right of the painting indicates that she is in a room. Through the window there is a view of a wooded landscape with mountains and a church. [see Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198f., No. III.17] According to the legend Lucretia lived in the 6th century BC and was the beautiful and virtuous wife of the roman Collatinus. The roman King's son - Sextus Tarquinius fell in love with her. During a stay in her house Sextus threatened to kill her and shame her honour if she did not surrender to him. After the rape Lucretia had her father and husband vow vengeance and then she stabbed herself. The event led to an uprising in which the royal family was overthrown and the Roman Empire became a Republic. Depictions of Lucretia who was seen as the epitomy of female virtue, chastity, fidelity and honour enjoyed great popularity, particularly in the 16th century. [Literature: Bierende 2002, Follak 2002, Livius 1909]
Provenance:
- probably originally from the Potsdamer Stadtschloss (Potsdam City Palace), in 1811 recorded as hanging in the corridor behind the gallery (Bildergalerie) in Sanssouci
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198, No. III.17]
- before World War II on display in Grunewald hunting lodge and after the war declared missing
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 118, No. 240Q]
- 1956 in the possession of Wallraf
[mail correspondence D. Koepplin with SPSG in the Archive D. Koepplin, 1970]
- 1958 acquired by the Galerieverein, Stuttgart before it was returned to Berlin after the trial
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 118, No. 240Q]
- since 1970 once again in the possession of the SPSG
[mail correspondence D. Koepplin with SPSG in the Archive D. Koepplin, 1970]
Exhibitions:
Manchester 1957
Hamburg 2003, No. 82
Berlin 2009, No. III.17
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009 A198-199No. III.17Fig. III.17
Most, Wolf et al. 200991, 92, 94Figs. 7, 9
Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003182No. 82
Follak 2002
Bierende 2002
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979118No. 240Q
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193266198f
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Escape from the contrast between the sensual-seductive presence of the nude figure and the moment directly before the morally motivated suicide is offered by the view out of the window, where a small town with a church spire is visible in the background. Through this visual link between Lucretia and the church spire the exemplum of fidelity from antiquity can be interpreted as a reference to the sixth commandment (…).
[E. A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198f., No. III.17]

However, as there are no church spires depicted in other landscape scenes (except FR237) this theory cannot be transferred.
[Herrschaft, CDA 2010]

The theory presented in the Hamburg exhibition catalogue from 2003 is more convincing, interpreting the window as a sign that Lucretia has turned her back on the world.
[W. Schade, O. Westheimer, S. Schuck, Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003, 182, Cat.-No. 82]
The painting in Houston (FR 237) from the same period exhibits a similar pose. However here Lucretia wears a precious robe and her face expresses more suffering.
[E. A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 198f., No. III.17]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.01.2010
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Jagdschloss Grunewald (Grunewald hunting lodge) - Lucretia - Infrared Images
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner