Cranach - Law and Grace
Law and Grace
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lutherhaus Wittenberg
21.04.2021 - 18:59
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_LHW_G156
Persistent Linkhttps://lucascranach.org/DE_LHW_G156
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
Law and Grace[Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Lucas Cranach the Younger [Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 180, No. 47] [Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
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Dating:
about 1550[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 47] [Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerFederal State of Saxony-Anhalt
RepositoryLutherhaus Wittenberg
LocationWittenberg
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 19 x 25.5 cm Dimensions including frame: 35.5 x 41.5 cm [Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Support:
Painting on wood [Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia on the trunk of the central tree: winged serpent (with dropped wings) facing left, in yellow paint, with both a crown and a ring
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
- top left: 'RO: I PALAM [FIT] IRA DEI DE COELO [A]DVERSUS OMNEM IMPIETATEM ET IVSTITIAM [sic] [1] HOMINUM.' - top, centre: 'ESAIAE VII DOMINVS IPSE DABIT VOBIS SIGNVM ECCE VIRGO CONCIPIET ET PARIET FILIVM' - in the text block at the bottom edge of the painting, in six columns: 'OMNES ENIM PECCAVE- RVNT AC DESTITVVNTV[R] GLORIA DEI ROM: III' 'ACVLEVS AVTEM MORTIS PECCATVM POTENTIA VERO PECCATI LEX I COR: XV LEX IRAM OPERATVR ROM: IIII' 'PER LEGEM AGNITIO PEC CATI ROM: III OMNES PRO- PHETAE ET IPSA LEX VS- QUE AD IOANNEM PRO- PHETAVERVNT MATTHAEI XI' 'NAM IN CHRISTO IESV NEQ: CIRCVMCISIO QVIDQ VALET NEQ: PREPVTIVM SED FIDES OPERANS P DILECTIONEM AD GAL: V' 'ECCE AGNVS ILLE DEI QVI TOLLIT PECCATA MVNDI IO: I PER SANC- TIFICATIONEM SPIRITVS IN OBEDIENTIAM ET AS- PERSIONEM SANGVINIS [IESU CHRISTI PETRI [?] I] 'ABSORPTA EST MORS IN VIC- TORIAM VBI TVVS MORS ACVLEVS VBI TVA INFERNE VICTORIA SED DEO GRATIA QVI DEDIT NOBIS VICTORIA[M] PER DOMINVM NOSTR[VM IESUM CHRISTUM I COR: XV [?]] [1] the wording of the Letter to the Romans in the Vulgata reads: 'INIVSTITIAM HOMINUM' [Görres, CDA 2012]
Description:
The pictorial space is divided in two halves by a tree in the centre. In the foreground Death and the Devil chase a bearded man wearing a loincloth into the flames of hell. A group of prophets watches the incident. Among them is Moses, who holds the commandment tablets in his left hand. In the background on the left side of the image the Fall of Man, the brazen serpent and Christ as the Judge of the World in a gloriole of clouds are depicted. The naked, bearded figure from the left side is shown again beside St John the Baptist, who points to the crucified Christ from whose side blood spurts out over the naked man. On the right edge of the painting the resurrected Christ has defeated Death and the Devil with the victory banner. Christ ascends to Heaven above the burial cave. Only his feet are still visible. In anticipation of the nativity the Christ Child descends to the Virgin on a hill in the background. [Görres, CDA 2012]
Provenance:
- John R. Vanderlip Collection, Minneapolis (since 1936)
- 1974 Alfred Brod Gallery, London
- 1975 Kunsthaus Lempertz, Cologne
- 1990 Auktionshaus Dobiaschofsky, Bern
[Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 180]
- Galerie Wimmer, Munich
- 2001 purchased by the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt
- on permanent loan from the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt

[Lutherhaus Wittenberg, revised 2012]
Exhibitions:
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 47
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Poulsen 2015 A68
Hoppe-Harnoncourt 2015163, Fn. 52
Waterman 2015282, 283, Fn. 12; 284
Joestel 2008134pp. 135-137
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974508, 510No. 355
Rieske-Braun [n. d.]
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The the panel corresponds with the so-called 'Gotha type' iconography of Law and Mercy.
[Görres, CDA 2012]
[...] On the basis of his ermine coat the prophet Daniel can be identified among the figures gathered around Moses with the commandment tablets.[1] [...]
Opposite the side of Grace exhibits some diviations from the formula of the gotha panel as found on other paintings from the workshop. The conception is depicted in place of the Annunciation to the shepherds shown on the panel in Gotha. And the Risen christ standing triumphant over Death and the devil is not represented on the panel in Gotha.
The small panel - all the other versions from the Cranach workshop are considerably larger in size - was probably created for an educated client. this is supported by the fact that in contrast to all the other versions of 'Law and Grace' here the inscription is in Latin. However, despite that the chosen biblical texts are the same as thoses on the earlier versions.
[1] In addition to the present panel the figure of Daniel, who can be identified on the basis of his ermine coat, was only depicted on a version from 1536 that was auctioned in 2014 at Christie's, a fragment in Munich which is generally considered to be part of a further version, as well as on the title page of 'Die Propheten alle Deudsch'., published in 1541.
[Exhib. Cat. Gotha/Kassel 2015, 180]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 06. 2010
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Lutherhaus Wittenberg - Law and Grace - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
  • - an underdrawing is not readily visible

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
    History of Restoration:
    • Date: 22.05.2012
    • - the painting was glazed
    • conservation treatment by: Angela Günther