Cranach - Portrait of Martin Luther
Portrait of Martin Luther
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Drumlandig Castle, Thornhill
13.08.2020 - 01:01
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberUK_DCT_DCT001
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Portrait of Martin Luther[cda 2017]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 272, No. 170]
about 1532[Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 272, No. 170]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerThe Duke of Buccleuch
RepositoryDrumlandig Castle, Thornhill
Dimensions of support: 22 x 19 cm [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 272, No. 170]
Painting on parchment [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 272, No. 170]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
This portrait shows Martin Luther in close-up against a neutral background and its very elaborate execution, namely body colour on parchment, is of high quality. The reformer has a fixed gaze and his gently raised head is turned to the right. He wears a scholar¿s beret over the slightly wavy hair that covers his ears and the characteristic flap is fitted tightly to the back of his head. The dark shadows along the contours of the face and a subtle application of white on the chin, the cheeks, the tip and bridge of the nose and the forehead create the necessary volume and impart a lively, realistic effect. However for a portrait session the sitter is not well-shaven and appears slightly sweaty. The viewer is left with the impression of a bold, almost reckless character, which is quite appropriate for a reformer. [CM, Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017]
Düsseldorf 2017, No. 170
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017272No. 170
Görres 2017 B46170
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Although Cranach’s Luther images were reproduced on a large scale the iconography can be narrowed down to a few basic types. This rarely published sheet represents a portrait type of the scholarly church founder that was developed in 1532 (see FR314). In the painted version Luther’s feared gaze was inversed and the impetuous appearance of the Reformer was tamed to show the benevolent father figure, ever concerned about the wellbeing and woes of his followers. This portrait on parchment is probably the prototype that was created in front of the live model.
[CM, Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 272, No. 170]