Cranach - St Catherine
St Catherine
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
06.12.2021 - 12:21
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_MHK_GK12
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR031
St Catherine[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 4] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 31]
Hans Baldung Grien [Cat. Kassel 1819, 13]
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about 1510[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
about 1504[Flechsig 1900 B, 81]
about 1510 - 1515[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 4]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerMuseumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
RepositoryGemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
Dimensions of support: 74.3 x 27.3 x 0.5-0.7 cm (bottom slightly trimmed)
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Painting on lime wood
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]

lime wood
[Peter Klein Report, 25.02.1988]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Recto of the panel:
- at the bottom left:
in red paint '1911'

Verso of the panel:
- two labels from the Staatl. Museen Kassel
- illegible inscription in pencil
- in coloured pencil 'pr. 13'
- in pencil 'R'

[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
St Catharine is depicted standing frontally in a balanced contrapposto and occupies the central axis of the painting. The vertical direction of the erect body and the sword is counteracted twofold by the arc of the wheel and the edge of the curtain on the right, which sways in the same direction.

[Cat. Kassel 1997, 60]
- 1827 aquired at the auction of the Campe Collection
- then it was attached to the All Saints Altar by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel, GK 30) as an exterior wing panel.

[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Basel 1974, no. 594a
Kassel 2015, no. 4
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 201834under no. 1
Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015100, 1014Pl. p. 101; Fig. 1
Heydenreich 2007 A42, 102, 124, 206, 345, 394
Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005391, 393 Fn. 6under No. 30
Exhib. Cat. Prague 200546 (English version 22)under no. 1
Cat. Kassel 199759-64
Cat. Kassel 199688
Cat. Kassel 198216-17, 56, 6286
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979031
Levenson 1978221
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974682No. 594a
Cat. Kassel 196956
Cat. Kassel 19584712
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932030
Cat. Kassel 192918, 9912
Cat. Kassel 191313, 5812
Michaelson 190234-35
Flechsig 1900 B81, 85, 88, 130
Cat. Kassel 188868
Cat. Kassel 1877758
Cat. Kassel 1845958
Cat. Kassel 18191358
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The central part of the altar was probably a Virgin and Child, represented either as a sculpture in a shrine or as a painting. A corresponding example of this iconographical constellation within Cranach's work can be found in the depiction of the Virgin on the central panel in Tuscon, Arizona University of Arizona Gallery, which is flanked by Catharine on the left wing panel and Barbara on the right one (Brne, Moravská gálerie v Brne; Friedländer/Rosenberg 1979, No. 46, 47). A reconstruction reveals the central panel must have been c. 74 cm high and c. 46 cm wide. These dimensions almost correspond with those of the Virgin by Cranach in the Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (71.5 x 44.2 cm; Friedländer/Rosenberg 1979, No. 30). In addition the Virgin on the central panel was - like the female saints on the wing panels - probably represented against a flat background without landscape details.
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 63-64]
The infrared reflectogram of the reverse of the panel depicting St Catharine reveals that the figure of the Virgin from an Annunciation scene was originally painted here. On the basis of deduction it may be assumed that the figure of an angel must have adorned the reverse of the other panel. [1] (compare figs. 1 and 2) A panel depicting the angel Gabriel in Dortmund is similar in format and date (about 1515). [2] The less usual composition of the angel appearing to the Virgin from the right also appears in a similar manner on the the external wing panels of an Altarpiece by the Cranach workshop in the village church of Klieken in Sachsen-Anhalt, which is dated about 1515.[3]
[1] Now this panel is only 0.2 cm thick as the painted reverse was separated at some stage before the Campe collection was auctioned. The panel depicting St Catharine is 0.5-0.7 cm thick [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
[2] Oil on wood, 69 x 27 cm, Dortmund, Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (Loan from the Federal Republic of Germany)
[3] Cat. Halle 2009, 12-15, the central element consists of a sculptural representation of the Virgin and two assistants.

[Lange, Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 100]
Particular striking on the panels in Kassel is the style of the female saints' haloes, which is very rare in Cranach's oeuvre and suggests a specific request from the commissioner. A further panel depicting the Virgin and the infant St John is similar with regards the dimensions and the rendition of the haloes. [1] This panel is dated about 1512, so that - if they should be related - would require a slightly later dating of the two wing panels. However large discrepancies with regards the painterly quality suggest that the central panel may have been a copy.
[1] oil on wood, 75.9 x 59.4 cm, about 1512, private collection, Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007, No. 17
[Lange, Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 100]
[see also MHK online database, accessed 07.12.2020](
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 1997
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
  • Infrared reflectography
  • 8.01 Support
  • - lime wood according to a report by Dr. P. Klein, Hamburg (25.02.1988)
    - a single plank with the grain running vertically
    - the panel has been trimmed slightly along the bottom edge
  • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
  • - the barbe along the top, left and right edges has been partially preserved, but not along the bottom
  • 8.03 Underdrawing
  • - recto: an underdawing was not visible in the infrared reflectogram
    - verso: remnants of a female figure with arms crossed over her breast
    [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
    • examined by: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
    • Date: 25.02.1988
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
    • 8.01 Support
    • Identification of wood species: lime wood
      • analysed by: Peter Klein
      Condition Reports:
      • Date: 1997
      • - the sky is in part abraded; there are dark patches, remains of an old varnish and a probable original glaze; apart from the abrasion and retouching the panel is in good condition
        - a protective coating was applied to the reverse of the panel; at both the top and bottom of the panel there are additional vertical battens; beneath the coating there are remains of an original painting on a gold backgound showing a repesentation of a female figure; in areas of loss in the coating remnants of an old oilgilding are visible

        [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
        History of Restoration:
        • Date: 1988
        • - technical examination and conservation treatment

          [Curatorial files, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]
          • Date: 1956
          • - conservation treatment after return from Vienna

            [Curatorial files, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]