Cranach - St Barbara
St Barbara
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
16.05.2022 - 07:55
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_MHK_GK13
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR031
St Barbara[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 5] [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. 5]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerMuseumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
RepositoryGemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
Dimensions of support: 74.1 x 27.2 x 0.2 cm (bottom slightly trimmed)
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Painting on lime wood
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the panel:
- label from the Staatl. Museen, Kassel
- in blue colouring pencil '12'

[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
St Barbara is positioned almost in the central axis, however with a gently inclined head and slightly retracted right shoulder she turns to the left. The vertical direction of the folds in the skirt and the tower (including its elongated window) contribute emphatically to the layout. At the same time the torsion of the saint is additionally emphasised by the bulging contours of the drapery on the left side and the diagonal curvature of the curtain hem below the saint's left hand.
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 60]
1827 acquired at the auction of the Campe collection, Leipzig; then it was attached to the All Saints Altar by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel, GK 30).
[Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
Basel 1974, no. 594b
Kassel 2015, no. 5
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015100, 1015Pl. p. 101
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. 594b
Cat. Kassel 196956
Cat. Kassel 19584713
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932030
Cat. Kassel 192918, 9913
Cat. Kassel 191313, 5813
Michaelson 190234-35
Flechsig 1900 B81, 85, 88, 130
Cat. Kassel 188869
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]
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]
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]
[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 acording to a report by Dr. P. Klein, Hamburg (25.02.1988)
    - one plank, vertical grain
    - the original painted verso of the panel was separated with a saw
    - the rebate has been trimmed to a width of 0.1 cm to 0.5 cm at the top, right and left, and not preserved at the bottom
    - the panel has been trimmed slightly at the bottom
  • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
  • - the barbe has been retained in part at the top, right and left edges, but not at the bottom
  • 8.03 Underdrawing
  • - an underdrawing is not visible in the infrared reflectogram
    [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
    • examined by: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel
    Condition Reports:
    • Date: 1997
    • - the sky is slightly abraded in the upper third, remnants of old overpaint (left), an old varnish and probably an original dark glaze; apart from the abrasion and the retouching the panel is in good condition

      [Cat. Kassel 1997, 59]
      History of Restoration:
      • Date: 1997
      • - consolidation of the paint layers

        [Curatorial files, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Kassel]
        • 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]