Cranach - The Crucifixion
The Crucifixion
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Indianapolis Museum of Art
25.02.2020 - 22:20
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberUS_IMA_2000-344
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR218
The Crucifixion[Indianapolis Museum of Art, revised 2012]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Indianapolis Museum of Art, revised 2012]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerIndianapolis Museum of Art, The Clowes Collection
RepositoryIndianapolis Museum of Art
Dimensions of support: 30 x 21 1/2 inch [Indianapolis Museum of Art, revised 2012] Dimensions of support: 76 x 54.5 cm [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 218]
Painting on beech wood [Klein, Report 1999] Wood [Indianapolis Museum of Art, revised 2012]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia at the bottom left: winged serpent and dated '1532' [cda 2012]
Cranach's Crucifixion should be seen in light of Luther's ideas. The emphasis upon the recognition of Christ's sacrifice by witnesses to his death on the Cross is a clear reference to one of the central tenets of Lutheran theology: that sinful mankind can be reconciled to God only by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The scene is crowded with figures that are symbolically arrayed at the right and left hand of Christ. To his right, the Virgin collapses into the arms of John the Evangelist, while the grieving Magdalene embraces the Cross. The Good Thief and Longinus, the Roman spear bearer who converted at Christ's death, gaze directly at him. They are contrasted with the brutish soldiers on his left, who ignore him and cast lots for his garments at the foot of the Cross. Cranach positioned the contemporary figures of a monk, a cardinal, and a Turk behind the Cross, among the unenlightened. [Indianapolis Museum of Art, revised 2012]
- Dassel, near Einbeck, Hannover, collection of Dr. Harwig
- Schleswig-Holstein, collection of Heinrich Ranzan von Plön (1596)
- Bad Kreuzenstein (Austria), collection of count Wilczek
- Vienna, art market, 1934

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 218]
Indianapolis 1959, No. 20
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 201836, 142under no. 2
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979218 (fig. 218 shows incorrect version)
Cat. Indianapolis 1973176
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 24.07.2002
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Support
  • - Beech; youngest annual ring dates from 1524 (see pdf for context)
  • Underdrawing
  • - no underdrawing detected (see pdf for context)
    • written by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • Date: 25.06.1999
    • Scientific analysis
    • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
    • Support
    • Identification of wood species: beech wood
      Youngest annual ring: 1523
      • analysed by: Peter Klein