Cranach - Female Portrait
Female Portrait
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
13.06.2021 - 12:33
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberAT_KHM_GG886
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR430
Female Portrait[Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
Portrait of a Woman (a Hoffmann by birth from Leipzig?)[Exhib. Cat. Vienna, Munich 2011, No. 74]
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Lucas Cranach the Younger Bottom right signed and dated [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
RepositoryKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Dimensions of support: 83.5 x 63.7 (t.) 63.4 (b.) x 2.0 cm The format corresponds with the Standard D according to Heydenreich. Dimensions of the painted surface: 83.5 x 63.7 (t.) 63.4 (b.) cm (coresponds with the dimensions of the panel) Dimensions including frame: 106,5 cm x 89.5 cm x 5 cm [Technical Examination, Kunsthistorisches Museum 2008]
Painting on lime wood (Tilia sp.) [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the right edge of the panel: winged serpent with dropped wings, facing left and dated above '1564'; in yellow paint (see Fig. AT_KHM_GG886_FR430_2008-02-20_Detail_08) [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel: - top centre: Paper label, printed: 'II. D. u. N. I. 66.' - beneath this: handwritten in white chalk: '2 P' - beneath this: Paper label, printed: 'C. I. LUC. CRANACH d. ä. [correction in pencil: j.] Nro. 69.' Red chalk (diagonal): '1470' - bottom right: Paper label, handwritten in ink: '2.St: 1.Z: A.D.S. Nr: 68.' Paper label, printed: 'Gemälde Galerie des Allerh. Kaiserhauses No. 886' [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
The female portrait was conceived as a pendant to the portrait of her husband (AT_KHM_GG885_FR429). Therefore she occupies, as was typical at that time, the heraldic left side. Contrary to the male portrait her figure is not cropped by the edge of the painting. She is shown seated and rests her hands in her lap. On the right the contours of her figure are repeated in the form of a shadow on the blue-grey background. The green curtain on the left side is a later addition and covers the family coat-of-arms of the sitter.
- from the Collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, inventory 1659, NL 331:
'330 vnndt 331. Zwey Contrafait-Brusstpildter von Öhlfarb auf Holcz eines Caualiers vnndt seiner Frawn, er in einem schwartzen Klaidt mitt einem schwartzen Käppel auff alte Manier, in der rechten Handt ein Messer mitt Silber beschlagen vnd in der linckhen ein Fatzonettel, die Fraw in einem rothen Rockh, weissen Fürtuech vnd Ermblen, vmb den Halsz zwey guldene Ketten vielmahl vmbgewickelt vnndt auff dem Kopf ein schwartz Barettel.
In schwartz glatten Ramen, jedes 5 Span 2 Finger hoch vnd 4 Span 2 Finger braidt.
Beede Originalia von Lucas Crainich. (330 and 331. Two half-length portraits oil-paint on wood a cavalier and his wife, he wears a black frock with a black cap in the old style, in his right hand he has a silvery knife and in his left hand a handkerchief, the woman wears a red dress, a white scarf and ?, around her neck she wears two golden chains, wrapped around numerous times and a black beret on her head.)'

[source: 'Inventarium aller vnndt jeder Ihrer hochfürstlichen Durchleücht Herrn Herrn Leopoldt Wilhelmen [...] zue Wienn vorhandenen Mahllereyen [...]' ehem. Krumau, Fürstl. Schwarzenbergsches Centralarchiv.
published in [Berger 1883, LXXXVI-CLXXVII]

- from 1816 recorded in the Picture Gallery in the Belvedere
[Inventar 1816/17, 2. Stock, 1. Zimmer, Nr. 69 (written by Joseph Rosa jun., Manuscript in the archive of the Picture Gallery, KHM)]
[Krafft, Cat. Vienna 1837, 209, No. 66]
[Engert, Cat.Vienna 1858, 121 , No. 66]
[Engerth, Cat. Vienna 1886, Bd. 3, No. 1493]

- since 1892 in the Picture Gallery of the Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen, Burgring 5
[Cat. Vienna 1892, 364, No. 1466] (Saal XXV)
[Cat. Vienna 1896, 428, No. 1470] (Saal IX)
[Cat. Vienna 1907, 340, No. 1470] (Saal IX)
[Cat. Vienna 1928, 59, No. 1470]
[Cat. Vienna 1938, 44, No. 1470]
[Cat. Vienna 1963, 40, No. 119]
[Cat. Vienna 1973, 51, Plate 131]
[Cat. Vienna 1991, 47, Plate 599]

[Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]

[Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
- Graz 1953, No. 43
- Vienna 1972, No. 29
- Vienna 2010, No. 167
- Vienna, Munich 2011/2012, No. 74
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Prague 2016123
Hoppe-Harnoncourt 2012paragraph 5Fig. 9
Exhib. Cat. Vienna 2011136No. 74
Exhib. Cat. Vienna 2010106No. 167
Cat. Vienna 199147Plate 599
Exhib. Cat. Brughe 198494, 95Fig. 42
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979430 (and under No. 427)
Exhib. Cat. Essen 1976138Fig. 158
Schade 1974103Plate 239
Cat. Vienna 197351Plate 131
Exhib. Cat. Vienna 197234No. 29Fig. 28
Osten, Vey 1969309
Hutter 196836-37Fig. 2
Cat. Vienna 196340No. 119
Exhib. Cat. Graz 195328No. 43
Wolters 1938127Figs. 81, 82
Cat. Vienna 193844No. 1470
Friedländer, Rosenberg 193293348 (and under No. 345)
Cat. Vienna 192859No. 1470
Glaser 1923Fn. p. 235
Cat. Vienna 1907340No. 1470
Cat. Vienna 1896 B428No. 1470
Cat. Vienna 1892364No. 1466
Scheibler 1887297
Cat. Vienna 188661 (Bd. 3)No. 1493
Waagen 1866171 (Bd. 1)Nos. 65, 66
Cat. Vienna 1858121No. 66
Cat. Vienna 1837209No. 66
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
On the basis of the date 1564 and the signature this painting has always been considered to be a typical work by the talented portrait artist Lucas Cranach the Younger, who emancipated himself in this genre after the death of his father (see among others [Lilienfein 1942, 102][Osten, Vey 1969, 309]
The curtain in the background is like that on the pendent portrait, a later addition: it covers a coat-of-arms, which is visible in the x-radiograph [Schutz 1972, No. 28]. Dr. Monika Lücke (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg) discovered the same coat-of-arms on Balthasar Hoffmann’s epitaph (Leipzig, Stadtgeschichtliches Museum). Therefore this could be a portrait of one of the daughters of Balthasar Hoffmann from Leipzig (Hoppe-Harnoncourt, Exhib. Cat. Vienna, Munich 2011, No. 73]. It is however still open to debate which of his daughters is represented by the sitter.

[Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt, Kunsthistorisches Museum 2012] [Translation, Smith, cda]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2012
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Light microscopy
  • Infrared reflectography
  • X-radiography
  • Stereomicroscopy
  • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - ReverseLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - ReverseLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - PhotomicrographsLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - PhotomicrographsLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - PhotomicrographsLucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - Detail Images
  • Support
  • - lime wood (Tilia sp.)
    [wood species identified by Dr. Peter Klein, report from 06.04.2008]
    - the support consists of 6 planks of varying widths with the grain running vertically, butt-joined and glued; the widths of the planks are from left to right (seen from the recto): Plank I 7.5 (t.) 6.2 (b.) Plank II 15.7 (t.) 16.2 (b.) Plank III 10.6 (t.) 10.4 (b.) Plank IV 9.9 (t.) 10.7 (b.) Plank V 12.2 (t.) 11.8 (b.) Plank VI 7.8 (t.) 8.1 (b.) cm.
    The reverse of the panel is original and from it we can deduce the construction of the panel, which occurred in two stages: first planks I and II as well as planks III to VI were glued together and prepared separately. This is evident when interpreting the concise block plane marks that run vertically on the left side of the panel and diagonally on the right side (see Fig. AT_KHM_GG886_FR430_2008-02-20_Overall_Reverse_Raking-Light). Only then were the two halves joined together to make the panel. One possible explanation for this method of construction could be that the planks were glued together and kept in reserve to use accordingly for the relevant panel. The join between the two parts of the panel was reinforced near the bottom edge with two counter hand-forged nails. The panel is 1.9-2.0 cm thick. The reverse of the panel exhibits a rebate, uneven in width (0.9 to 1.5 cm), on all sides, with the exception of the trimmed bottom edge. Where the rebate is present the panel is c. 0.7 cm thick. It has an anthracite coloured coating.
    - a strip the width of the rebate was probably trimmed off the bottom edge
  • Ground and Imprimatura
  • - white ground
    - an analysis was not carried out, probably glue bound calcium carbonate
    - the ground appplication extends to the edge of the panel, neither a barbe nor unpainted edges are present
    - different degrees of x-ray absorption indicates that the separately prepared panel pieces (see support) may also differ in terms of the number and/or composition of the ground layers. (see Fig. AT_KHM_GG886_FR430_2008-03-19_X-radiograph).
  • Framing
  • - not original
    [Translation, Smith, cda 2013]
  • Underdrawing
  • The infrared reflectogram shows an underdrawing that was executed in a dry medium with freehand, short, jagged lines, at times repeated (nose). The broken course of the some lines suggests the use of a dry drawing material. The hands and details of the face were essentially characterised with contours and a sparse indication of inner form, shadow are suggested by hatching-strokes only on the joints of the finger and the cheek-bones. The underdrawing was to a greater extent closely adhered to in the painted version, the left ear was shifted further down.
  • Paint Layers and Gilding
  • The painted surface extends to the edge of the panel on the sides; along the top edge there is a painted edge c. 0.8 cm in width, the panel may have been fixed in a mortise frame during the painting process. The lower edge is trimmed making any assertion impossible.
    As with the male pendant the flesh paint and other light areas like the sleeve and the apron were laid in first, before the red and black areas were applied. Finally the background was painted and at the same time the contour of the figure was defined. The numerous decorative elements like the necklace, the hairnet, the lace collar, decoration of the beret etc. were applied last and overlap the background in many places.
    The manner of painting generally corresponds with that of the male pendant (AT_KHM_GG885_FR429), the coloring of the flesh paint is however somewhat cooler and the shadows are painted in brown or grey tones rather than red.
    The x-radiograph shows, that light areas like the flesh paint or the apron were initially laid in more generously and only received their final shape in a more advanced stage of the painting process when adjacent areas were painted. The blocked in areas of the sleeve and the background meet without overlapping. A narrow strip of barely covered ground on the inner side of her right upper arm was incorporated into the representation as a reflection.
    In can be observed that the areas of the lace and embroidery on the sleeve of her blouse vary in consistency and the method of application; in part the paint was applied wet-in-wet, sometimes the wet paint was blended with a dry brush, finally the details of the pattern were applied with impasto yellow paint. There is no gilding, light reflexes on the rings and chains were achieved with impasto highlights (presumably lead-tin-yellow).
    • written by: Monika Strolz
    • written by: Ute Tüchler
    • Date: 06.04.2008
    • Scientific analysis
    • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
    • Support
    • Identification of wood species: Dr. Peter Klein, report from 06.04.2008
      [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012]
      [Translation, Smith, cda 2013]
      • analysed by: Peter Klein
      • Date: 19.03.2008
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Infrared reflectograph
      • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - Infrared Images

        - dry drawing material, black chalk or stylus

        - freehand underdrawing
        - delicate, fine lines; short and jagged, partially reinforced
        - occasioinal hatching-strokes

        - relatively binding for the final painted version; the lines define the main contours, sparse description of essential details and facial features; volume represented by hatching-strokes: hands and left cheek only

        - minor adjustments were made during the painting process to forms, small changes (e. g. the position of the left ear)


        - Lucas Cranach the Younger
        [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2016]
        • photographed by: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
        • Date: 19.03.2008
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • X-radiograph
        • Lucas Cranach the Younger - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna - Female Portrait - X-Radiographs
          • created by: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien
          Condition Reports:
          • Date: 2012
          • Support: - the panel exhibits old woodworm damage, which is more concentrated in three of the six planks (II, V and VI). The support must have been affected by woodworm before the planks were used as numerous exit holes on the painted side have been filled with a fill material -probably containing lead white (see Fig. AT_KHM_GG886_FR430_2008-03-19_X-radiograph). - there is a dent of c. 10 cm in length and 1.4 cm in depth between planks IV and V. Here the remaining wood is only 0.5-0.6 cm thick. - The panel was trimmed along the bottom, and as a result wood fibres have broken off along the cut edge. Paint Layers: - a curtain was also added later, mirror-invert to that on the male pendant. The coat-of-arms painted beneath in the upper left corner is clearly visible in the x-radiograph (see Beschreibung/Diskussion/Forschungsgeschichte ). It is not documented when this intervention occurred. The coat-of-arms was overpainted in a frame, as the paint layer does not extend to the edge of the panel, but creates a barb c. 1 cm from the left edge (see Fig. AT_KHM_GG886_FR430_2008-03-02_Photomicrograph-M6x-018). The paint layer of the curtain exhibits a strong x-ray absorption and presumably contains lead white or lead-tin-yellow. - the paint layers exhibit only a few, mostly very small losses; further isolated losses are located along the edges, particularly along the bottom edge. [Monika Strolz, Ute Tüchler, Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012] [Translation, Smith, cda 2013]
            History of Restoration:
            • Date: 1929
            • Restaurierbuch 1, 1929/Nr. 54: numerous large and small blisters in the lower quarter of the painting were consolidated [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012] [Translation, Smith, cda 2013]
              • Date: 1924
              • Restaurierbuch 1, 1924/Nr. 373: varnish removal [Kunsthistorisches Museum, revised 2012] [Translation, Smith, cda 2013]