Cranach - A Princess of Saxony
A Princess of Saxony
Lucas Cranach the Elder
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
02.07.2020 - 08:22
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberUS_NGA_1947-6-2
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/US_NGA_1947-6-2
FR (1978) No.FR124
Title:
A Princess of Saxony[http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751] (accessed 11.02.2013)
Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751] (accessed 11.02.2013)
Dating:
about 1517[http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751] (accessed 11.02.2013)
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
RepositoryNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
LocationWashington
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 43.4 x 34.3 cm (17 1/16 x 13 1/2 in.) Dimensions including frame: 58.4 x 48.9 cm (23 x 19 1/4 in.) [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751] (accessed 11.02.2013)
Support:
Painting on lime wood [Klein, Report 2013] [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751&detail=tech] (accessed 11.02.2013)
Description:
'These pictures rank among Cranach's most engaging and charming portraits of children. In the expressions of the boy and girl the artist has captured the wistful innocence and gentle seriousness of childhood. Depicted in half length against a black background, the pair are regally dressed. [...] The girl's costume is equally splendid. Her dress is a heavy red fabric, perhaps velvet or a dull satin, with a floral pattern in yellow and with slashed and puffed sleeves. At the top of the bodice is a wide piece of cloth-of-gold, and around her shoulders is an elaborate gold chain. A final touch of elegance is provided by the gold necklace edged with delicate white flowers (daisies?) made of enamel.' [Hand, Cat. Washington 1993, 30]
Provenance:
- (Julius Böhler, Munich, owned jointly with August Salomon, Dresden, through Paul Cassirer, Berlin).[1]
- purchased August 1925 by Ralph Harman [1873-1931] and Mary Batterman [d. 1951] Booth, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
- gift 1947 to NGA

[1] Julius Böhler, letter of 9 November 1987 to Dr. John Hand, in curatorial files.

[http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751&detail=prov] (accessed 11.02.2012)
Exhibitions:
Detroit 1926, No. 17
New York 1929
New York 1939, No. 61
Washington, D.C. 1998, No. 14
Rome 2010, No. 15
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Nuechterlein 20115-6Fig. 6
Exhib. Cat. Rome 2010176 - 178No. 15Pl. p. 177
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007258-26069p. 259
Hand 2004138No. 104Fig.
Southgate 200188-89Fig.
Beckett 199920Fig.
Löcher 1995 A15
Washington Art Gallery 1994unpaginatedFig.
Cat. Washington 199327-31Fig. p. 29
Southworth 19899Fig. cover
Snyders 1985374, 375Fig. 440
Cat. Washington 1985104Fig.
Cat. Washington 1984165No. 180Fig.
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979No. 124
King 197833-34Plate 13
Koepplin 1974 A29, 34, Fn. 47
Werl 196531-35Fig.
Cat. Washington 196533
Cat. Washington 1963306Fig.
Ruhmer 196387No. 17Fig.
Broadley 196028-29Fig.
Booth Collection 194971, 75Fig.
Roggeveen 1949340Fig. 338
Louchheim 194856-57Fig.
Booth Collection 1948 A40Fig.
Booth Collection 1948 BC7Fig.
Booth Collection 1948 CunpaginatedFig.
Posse 194357No. 46Fig.
Vaughan 193910-11
Craven 1939261, 261Plate 62
Kuhn 19363791pl. XIX
Frankfurter 1933Fig. 19
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193250105
Exhib. Cat. Detroit 192617
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
'Although there is no way of identifying the sitters precisely, it seems reasonable to suggest, as was first done by Friedländer and Rosenberg, that they could be a Saxon prince and princess [1]. The regal costume accord well with that found in other of Cranach's portraits of Saxon nobility. The crown worn by the boy is a traditional sign of engagement [2]. The girl is probably the boy's sister, as the absence of a garland on her head makes it unlikely that she is his fiancée. The betrothal of noble children was not uncommon; Talbot called attention to Berhard Strigel's portrait of Ludwig of Hungary (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), aged nine and wearing a crown, painted in 1515 on the occasion of a double engagement of Ludwig and his sister to a daughter and son of Philip the Fair [3]. In addition, Cranach's portrait dated 1529 of a young boy wearing a betrothal crown (FR329) is tentatively identified as a prince of Saxony [4].
There have been two attempts to identify the children in the National Gallery portraits. Friedländer and Rosenberg thought they were possibly the children of Duke George the Bearded of Saxony: Prince Friedrich, born in 1504, and Princess Christine, born in 1505 [5]. Werl suggested that they might be Count Philipp of Hesse and duchess Elizabeth of Saxony, but Koepplin, the only author to comment, did not find this proposal convincing [6]. Neither identification can be verified. While it is often difficult to guess the ages of children in portraits, it seems to the author that the girl is several years older than her brother, which argues against the identification put forward by Friedländer and Rosenberg.
Following Friedländer and Rosenberg, most authors agree in dating the portraits to the period around 1516/1518. Ruhmer thought they might be later but declined specific comments, while Werl would like to date them around 1512, primarily because Elizabeth of Saxony was born in 1502 [7].
As noted by Talbot, however, there are stylistic comparisons with the pair of portraits of Maurice Buchner, dated 1518, and his wife Anna (US_MIA_57-11_FR127, US_MIA_57-10_FR128), and further, the National Gallery's paintings are not as patterned and as severe as the 'Portrait of a Young Girl' [in Paris] usually dated around 1520 (FR153) [8].'

[1] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932, Nos. 104, 105]
[2] Compare, for example, Cranach's portraits of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous and Sibyl of Cleve, both dated 1526 (DE_KSW_G11_FR304, DE_KSW_G12_FR305). Both persons wear crowns; the betrothal took place in September 1526 and the wedding in June of the following year. See also [Bramm 1948, cols. 1125-1130]
[3] Charles Talbot, draft catalogue entry, 1966, in NGA curatorial files. For portrait of Ludwig of Hungary see:
[Otto 1964, 68, 102, No. 61, Fig. 129]
[4] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 329]
[5] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932, Nos. 104, 105]
[6] [Werl 1965, 31-35][Koepplin 1974, 34, Fn. 47]
[7] [Ruhmer 1963, 84, Nos. 16, 17][Werl 1965, 34]
[8] Talbot, draft catalogue entry, 1966

[Hand, Cat. Washington 1993, 30, 31]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 08.04.2013
  • Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Support
  • The painting is executed on a single piece of linden that was cut tangentially.[1]

    [1] The wood was identified as linden (sp. Tilia) by Peter Klein, examination report, 29 September 1987, in NGA curatorial files.
    [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751&detail=tech] (accessed 11.02.2013)
    • analysed by: Peter Klein
    • Date: 01.03.2013
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • X-radiography
    • Lucas Cranach the Elder - National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. - A Princess of Saxony - X-Radiographs
      • created by: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.
      • Date: 07.12.2006
      • Scientific analysis
      • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
      • Instrumental material analysis
      • Paint Layers and Gilding
      • Some pigments were identified using polarized light microscopy (PLM). [1] The orange fills on both paintings were identified as red lead with circa ten percent lead white addition. The black backgrounds were made with carbon black (bone black?). The mid-tone in the prince’ sleeve consists of vermillion and lead white. The same pigment mixture was found in the decoration on top of this layer. This is in contrast to the decoration on the sleeve of the princess painting, which is built up with vermillion mixed with lead-tin-yellow and some carbon black (bone black?). The ground tone for her sleeve consists of vermillion with a five to ten percent lead white addition. On top of this layer is a red glaze mixed with some carbon black (bone black?).
        [1] Both paintings were sampled on 07.12.2006 and then mounted. See the conservation files for the location of the samples.
        [After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007]
        See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
        • examined by: Bart J. C. Devolder
        • Date: 13.07.2006
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • Infrared reflectography
        • Lucas Cranach the Elder - National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. - A Princess of Saxony - Infrared Images
        • Underdrawing
        • Both paintings were examined using infrared refectography (IRR) [1].
          The princess painting shows some sketch lines in the hands and in the red stripes of her bodice. Also the location of the lips and eyes are marked with some fine black lines.
          [1] Both paintings were examined with FLIR/Indigo Alpha VisGaAs camera with H filter 0.5-1.7 microns (50 mm lens) on July 13th 2006 and the prince painting was re-examined August 24th 2006.
          [After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007]
          See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
        • Underdrawing
        • DESCRIPTION

          Tools/Material:
          - dry drawing material, dark chalk (?)

          Type/Ductus:
          - economic, freehand underdrawing
          - thin lines

          Function:
          - only roughly binding for the final painted version; the lines delineate the main contours, define some forms therein and possibly describe the facial features (lips); no representation of volume with hatching strokes

          Deviations:
          - corrections were made to forms during the painting process (hands, sleeves)

          INTERPRETATION

          Attributions:
          - Lucas Cranach the Elder?
          [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2017]
          • examined by: Bart J. C. Devolder
          • Date: 1993
          • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
          • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
          • Support
          • The painting is executed on a single piece of linden that was cut tangentially.[1]

            [1] The wood was identified as linden (sp. Tilia) by Peter Klein, examination report, 29 September 1987, in NGA curatorial files.

            [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751&detail=tech] (accessed 11.02.2013)
              • Date: 31.01.1989
              • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
              • Infrared reflectography
              • Stereomicroscopy
              • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
              • Support
              • The panel is made from a single piece of Linden wood: scientific analysis has confirmed the identity of this wood. Although dendrochronologic dating was attempted by Dr. Peter Klein, there is no master chronology for Linden wood.
              • Ground and Imprimatura
              • The painting is executed on a thin white ground.
              • Paint Layers and Gilding
              • The fleshtones have been built up thinly still taking advantage of the ground to provide depth, the garments and hair are much more thickly and opaquely painted. The red garment consists of an opaque orange underpainting which has the shadows built up over it in dark transparent colours. The decoration in the dress and highlights in the hair and necklace are the final touches of paint. These have been brushed on dryly and thickly. [...] The x-radiographs show no significant artists changes.
                [Examination report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 1989]
                See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
              • Underdrawing
              • I.R. reflectography shows little evidence of underdrawing.
                • examined by: Michael Swicklik
                • examined by: David Bull
                Condition Reports:
                • Date: 01.11.2005
                • This summarized report should be viewed in conjunction with the report from 1989. All of the horizontal bars move. The panel is approximately a quarter of an inch thick and has been visibly planed down. Woodworm channels are visible on the back of the panel. The overall appearance of the varnish is a sprayed, cloudy surface with large aperture cracks throughout, and a large glossy area at lower right. Under microscopic examination it appears to be pitted and it is difficult to see through the surface of the painting in some areas. According to the conservation file, the varnish is a natural resin (est.) with a 1962 spray application of Acryloid B-72 applied to the surface. Treatment Recommendations: - sampling and analysis - remove discoloured and disfiguring varnish and inpainting - consolidate loose paint - check structural condition of the panel - apply isolating varnish, inpaint losses, apply final varnish [Examination Report and Treatment Proposal, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2005] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                • examined by: Kristen J. Loudermilk
                • examined by: Sarah L. Fischer
                • Date: 1993
                • The painting has been cradled. Additional strips of wood approximately 1 cm wide have been attached to the left and right edges and retouched to match the adjoining paint. The painting is in fairly good condition, although there is extensive worm tunneling on the reverse. The face is somewhat abraded, and there is a good deal of thin retouching in the shadows. Scattered throughout are very small retouchings covering losses and abrasion. [http://www.nga.gov/fcgi-bin/tinfo_f?object=33751&detail=tech] (accessed 11.02.2013)
                  • Date: 31.01.1989
                  • The condition of the paint is reasonably good. There is a good deal of thin retouching in the face, which because it is among the most thinly applied passages, is also the most abraded. There are some retouched losses along the hairline as well as other scattered loss over the painting. U.V. shows the extent of the retouching adequately. .[..] the additions along the edge are retouched as well as a good deal of frame abrasion at the bottom edge. There is a fine network of cracks running primarily in the vertical direction corresponding to the orientation of the wood grain. The support is in good condition in spite of extensive worm tunneling on the reverse. It appears stable and adequately strong.[...] Besides the panel on which the original painting was applied, there are additional borders attached on the left and right edges which are approximately 3/8 inch wide. These are retouched over to match the surrounding paint. The wood in these additions appears to be oak. On the reverse of the panel a cradle has been applied; it consists of five fixed vertical members and four sliding horizontal members. The wood in the cradle also appears to be oak. The varnish is a relatively thick layer of Natural resin. The greenish fluorescence under Ultraviolet light indicates this type of resin. There is an area in the lower right which fluoresces less than the rest of the painting, indicating that some of the varnish was removed in this area.[...] The varnish is milky and has become somewhat opaque, particularly in the background. The effect is to make the background appear absolutely flat. [Examination report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 1989] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                  • examined by: Michael Swicklik
                  • examined by: David Bull
                  History of Restoration:
                  • Date: 24.07.2007
                  • Treatment Report Summary [to be read in conjunction with the condition reports from 1989 and 2007] - the surface dirt was removed - the varnish and some overpaint was removed using organic solvents - the old inpainting and fills were removed with a scalpel under the microscope - a removable varnish was applied - the losses were filled using a proprietary, removable synthetic filling putty - the cracks, losses and several zones showing abrasion were inpainted using dry pigments ground into a synthetic resin - a removable synthetic varnish was applied over the whole [After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                  • conservation treatment by: Bart J. C. Devolder
                  • Date: 01.10.1962
                  • On October 1962, the princess painting went to the restorer: -'removed surface dirt and refinished the surface with B-72 resin.' [from the 'Repair of work of Art' records in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, cited in: After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                    • Date: 01.01.1948
                    • 'wiped' [from the 'Repair of work of Art' records in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, cited in: After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                      • Date: 28.02.1947
                      • The old entry cards show that both paintings were with the restorer for four days, starting on the 24th of February 1947. There is no record on the Repair of work of art record of what treatment was done during those days. [from the 'Repair of work of Art' records in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, cited in: After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                        • Date: 29.01.1947
                        • Both paintings went to the restorer again on January 29th 1947, this time for the following: The princess painting: - cleaned painting superficially [from the 'Repair of work of Art' records in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, cited in: After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]
                          • Date: 12.12.1946
                          • On December 12th 1946 both paintings were at the restorer's [1] The painting of the princess: - glazed forehead, parts of face and neck, right hand and left puff sleeve [1] this restorer was possibly Frank Sullivan, then on contract the National Gallery of Art [from the 'Repair of work of Art' records in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, cited in: After Treatment Report, National Gallery of Art, Washington 2007] See also attached pdf [forthcoming]