Cranach - The Suicide of Lucretia
The Suicide of Lucretia
Lucas Cranach the Elder
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
25.05.2020 - 16:03
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberIL_IMJ_B89-0059
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR358A
The Suicide of Lucretia[The Israel Museum, revised 2012]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [The Israel Museum, revised 2012] [Auct. Cat. Guy Loudmer 1987 in the Archive D. Koepplin]
Lucas Cranach the Younger [Auct. Cat. Guy Loudmer 1987 in the Archive D. Koepplin] "More likely Lucas Cranach the Younger" [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 141, No. 358A]
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about 1540[The Israel Museum, revised 2012]
after 1537[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 141, No. 358A]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerThe Israel Museum, Jerusalem
RepositoryThe Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Dimensions of support: 63 x 50 cm [The Israel Museum, revised 2012]
Painting on wood [The Israel Museum, revised 2012]
Signature / Date:
The painting depicts Lucretia as a half-length figure in contemporary dress. Her head is inclined slightly to the left and her gaze is directed at the viewer. At the bottom right edge of the painting both hands grasp the long dagger, which she points at her breast. Lucretia wears a dark, contemporary robe and a white undergarment with puffed sleeves, which is open revealing her bare chest. A fur-trimmed, red gown covers her shoulders. Her hair is concealed under an embroidered bonnet over which she wears a hat. She wears a necklace decorated with pearls and precious stones as jewelry. The background is dark. 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]
- 1931 Van Diemen Galleries, New York (Exhib. Anderson Galleries)
[annotation on the reverse of a photograph in the Archive D. Koepplin]
- 1932 Van Diemen & Co., Berlin
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 141, No. 358A]
[Auct. Cat. Guy Loudmer 1987 in the Archive D. Koepplin]
- 14.12.1987 at Guy Loudmer, Paris
[Auct. Cat. Guy Loudmer 1987 in the Archive D. Koepplin]
- Purchased with the support from the German Friends of the Israel Museum; An anonymous donor through American Friends of the Israel Museum; Martin Pomp, New York, through American Friends of the Israel Museum; Dr. Luba Gurdus, New York, through American Friends of the Israel Museum
[The Israel Museum, revised 2012]
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979141No. 358A
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932289g
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Among the more than 50 representations of Lucretia within Cranach’s oeuvre only few are known, where she holds a dagger in both hands (e.g. FR122).
This pose is a combination of the paintings in Cassel (about 1518) and Warsaw (1538). The clothing recalls that of the Lucretia in Nischni Nowgorod (1535), except for the strange hat. These three paintings are attributed to Lucas Cranach the Elder. Depictions of Lucretia dated before 1550 and considered to be by Lucas Cranach the Younger follow a different pattern (see Schloss Gottorf, Joanneum Graz). Therefore an attribution to Cranach the Elder is not unreasonable.
[Herrschaft, cda 2012]