Cranach - The Deposition
The Deposition
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Grunewald hunting lodge
23.05.2019 - 02:56
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_smbGG_581
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR370
The Deposition[CDA 2012]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 217, No. IV.20]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStaatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie
RepositoryGrunewald hunting lodge
Dimensions of support: 150.2 x 111.2 cm [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 217, No. IV.20]
Painting on lime wood (Tilia sp.) [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 217, No. IV.20]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia central bottom on the stone: serpent (with dropped wings) and date '1538'
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
verso: top left, remains of a seal (Siegel des Directeur general d. Musees de France) On the top cross-member, label: 'Staatliche Museen Berlin - Gemäldegalerie Inv.Nr. I. 643 [?] Kat.Nr. 581 L. Cranach d. Ä.' Between 3. and 4. vertical member, with white chalk: '581' Right centre, seal: 'Koenigliche Museen Berlin' Bottom left and right, identical labels: 'Gen. Kat. No. 11427' [Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, revised 2010]
The body of Christ is laid in the sarcophagus by Joseph of Arimathia, Nicodemus and St John. The women in morning stand behind the grave. In the background there is a rock cave and at the top right a view of some green. Mary Magdalene kneels in front of the grave with her hands clasped and looks out at the viewer. A crown of thorns lies on the ground in front of the coffin.
- probably taken from the cathedral (Domkirche) in the 17th century and placed in the Erasmus chapel (Erasmuskapelle) of the Berlin palace; eight Passion paintings are listed in the Berlin palace inventory from 1700
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 213, Nos. IV.14-22]
Berlin 2009, No. IV.20
Berlin 1973, No. 6c
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009 A217No. IV.20Fig. IV.20
Tacke 2007 C81, 82, 84
Cat. Berlin 199635No. 81
Erichsen 1994 A157, 158
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979144No. 370Fig. 370
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1973No. 6c
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193284295
Friedländer 190564
Schuchardt 1851 C15-1614
Cat. Berlin 1830144No. II.6
Puhlmann 179043
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
‚The painting is one of nine Passion panels, which were originally parts of an unknown number of winged altarpieces. Commissioned by Joachim II Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop created them for the collegial church in Berlin (Berliner Stiftskirche) between 1537 and 1538. This is one of the central panels, which was probably flanked by full-length depictions of saints on the wings and complemented by scenes from the old testament on the predella. […] The Berlin Passion cycle was based on the 16 Passion altarpieces, which were commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht from Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop for the collegial church in Halle (Hallenser Stiftskirche) (about 1520-1525) and it was the second large painted Passion series created in the Cranach workshop. Not only are numerous central panels now missing from the Berlin Passion altarpieces, like for example ‚The Arrest of Christ‘ or ‚The Crucifixion‘, but in addition the whereabouts of all the wing panels and a large number of the predella panels is unknown. They were probably lost in 1613 when Elector Johann Sigismund converted to Calvinism. […]‘
[Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 213, No. IV.14-22]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2010
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Grunewald hunting lodge - The Deposition - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing

    - fluid, black medium and brushes of varying widths

    - detailed and freehand underdrawing
    - thin lines; predominantly short line in combination with some longer, occasionally broader lines
    - occasional washes?

    - binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details and the facial features; some representation of volume (washes)

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


    - Lucas Cranach the Elder

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner