Cranach - Democritus
Democritus
Franz Timmermann
Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
06.12.2021 - 12:08
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_HABW_B35
Persistent Linkhttps://lucascranach.org/DE_HABW_B35
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Democritus[cda 2019]
Attribution:
Franz Timmermann [Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Dating:
1538[dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerHerzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
RepositoryHerzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
LocationWolfenbüttel
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 26 x 20.1 cm
Dimensions including frame: 35.9 x 29.9 cm
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Support:
Painting on deciduous wood
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia at the top left: 'FT' and dated '1538'
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Original Inscriptions:
- above the sitter's head: 'DEMOCRITVS'
- at the bottom edge: 'QVOD ME SIC TREMVLO, CERNIS RIDERE CACHINNO / STVLTICIAE EST HOMINV(M); MAXIMA CAVSA / MIHI.'
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, no. 110]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
on the reverse:
- adhesive label with a stamp: 'Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel' and the inventory no.: 'B35'
on the frame:
- adhesive label from the restorer Müller-Jung with information about the restoration
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Description:
The philosopher is depicted as a half-length figure, turned slightly to the left against a green background. He is wearing a brown coat with a yellow lining and wide sleeves that exhibit an elaborate arrangement of folds. He touches a brown sphere with his fingers as if wishing to spin it. Democritus is represented as a bald headed, old man with a white beard and hooked nose. His smile reveals an incomplete row of teeth.
[see: Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Provenance:
- unknown
- first recorded about 1870 in an inventory by Thies
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, no. 110]
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012418-425No. 110Figs. 110-110.2
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The two panels depicting Democritus and Heraclitus as ‚laughing and crying‘ philosophers are a remarkable testimony to the status of humanist subjects, as well as the reception of antiquity in Germany in the first half of the 16th century. As far as we know these portraits are the earliest and for some decades the only representations of this subject in Germany to have survived. Although they were published in 1904 in ‘Bau- und Kunstdenkmälern der Stadt Wolfenbüttel’ the paintings from Wolfenbüttel are not mentioned in any other previous scholarly literature.
[Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
Material / Technique:
  • Date:
  • Technical Examination
  • 8.01 Support
  • - a protective coating was applied to the reverse of the panel
    - the edges of the panel is chamfered
  • 8.05 Framing
  • - blackish brown, fluted profile with wave moulding decorating both the interior and exterior.
    [Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
      Condition Reports:
      • Date:
      • - fine craquelé, mainly with vertical cracks in the direction of the grain
        - the joint on the left side of the panel has been filled and retouched
        - numerous fills and retouches, particularly along the crack formation and at the edges
        [Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
        History of Restoration:
        • Date: 22.03.1969
        • '1969 conservation treatment by Heinz Müller-Jung'

          [Cat. Wolfenbüttel 2012, 418-425, No. 110]
        • conservation treatment by: Heinz Müller-Jung