Cranach - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length
Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki
22.09.2021 - 21:41
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberFIN_FNG_AI316
Persistent Linkhttps://lucascranach.org/FIN_FNG_AI316
FR (1978) No.FR299
Title:
Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 128, No. 299]
Portrait of a young woman[Finnish National Gallery, revised 2013]
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Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Finnish National Gallery, revised 2013]
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 128, No. 299]
[TUURNALA et al. 1991, 63-72]
[Exhib. Cat. Helsinki 1988]
Dating:
1525[ dated]
about 1530[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 128, No. 299]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerFinnish National Gallery, Helsinki
RepositorySinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki
LocationHelsinki
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support:
41 x 27 cm
[Finnish National Gallery, revised 2013]
[Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
Support:
Painting on beech wood
[Klein, Reports 1982, 1993]
[Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia bottom right corner: winged serpent with elevated wings and date '1525'
Description:
The lady in the portrait is wearing a luxurious, décolleté court dress in deep red typical of the fashions of the 1520s. She has a bronze, large-linked collar of status wound several times around her neck, underneath which can be seen a Saxon neck-band. Her hair has been tucked into a hairnet and a wide-brimmed hat. She has gloves with narrow slits on the fingers.
The woman's painted mouth has the suggestion of a smile. No rings or emblematic reveal the identity of the sitter.
[cf. Exhib. Cat. Helsinki 1988]
Provenance:
In 1851 the Russian Crown Prince - who became Tsar Alexander II - presented on behalf of his son (Alexander Alexandrovich, Grand Duke of Finland) an art collection acquired from the estate of Baron Otto Wilhelm Klinckowström to the Finnish Society of Art for establish its art gallery. This collection included Cranach's Portrait of a Young Woman.
[TUURNALA et al. 1991, pp. 63-72]
[Finnish National Gallery, revised 2013]
Exhibitions:
Helsinki 1988 - 1989
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 2018172under no. 37
Cat. Helsinki 201320
Bierende 2002
Follak 2002
Klein 1994 A198, 199Tab. 7
Tuurnala et al. 199163-72
Exhib. Cat. Helsinki 1988
Klein 1983209-222
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979128No. 299Fig. 299
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932228b
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Idealisation or portrait?
MaxJ. Friedländer notes that it cannot be said with certainly whether this is a genuine portrait or merely an idealisation of women in general. The purpose of both, the sitter portraied and the painting itself, is to give pleasure. Cranach has used line rythms in a masterly way and this is typical of his treatment of the enchantress type in his lage mythological compositions. However, this lady is without illusions, she knows her own worth.
[cf. Exhib. Cat. Helsinki 1988]
The woman in the portrait is wearing a low-cut dark red court gown and large-looped chains round her neck. A Saxon chocker is visible under the chains. Her hair is protected by a hairnet. Originally she also wore a wide-brimmed hat which has since been painted over, though the outlines can still be seen. The model for this painting may have been a courtesan or a mistress from the court of the Saxon Prince-Elector. It is likely, however, that the portrait does not represent a real person but is an idealized image of a woman.
[Minerva Keltanen, Finnish National Gallery, revised 2013]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 08. 2013
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • X-radiography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length - X-Radiographs
    • created by: Kirsti Harva
    • Date: 08. 2013
    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
    • Infrared reflectography
    • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length - Infrared ImagesLucas Cranach the Elder - Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo, Helsinki - Portrait of a young Lady at knee-length - Infrared Images
    • Underdrawing
    • DESCRIPTION
      - an underdrawing is not readily visible; an initial design may have been reinforce with a fluid drawing medium and a brush (occasionally visible in the dress)

      [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich cda 2014]
      • photographed by: Sinebrychofes Konstmuseum, Helsinki
      • Date: 18.01.1993
      • Scientific analysis
      • Dendrochronology / identification of wood species
      • Support
      • Identification of wood species: beech

        The youngest annual ring is from 1521 The panel was created after 1524.

        [Klein Report, 18.01.1993]
        • analysed by: Peter Klein
        • Date: 1991
        • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
        • X-radiography
        • The radiograph reveals that, during painting, the bend on the inside of the left hand elbow has been moved upwards and nearer to the torso. Also the shoulder line has been taken in slightly.'
          [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
          • Bearbeiter/in: Jana Herrschaft
          • Date: 1991
          • Naturwissenschaftliche Materialanalyse
          • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
          • Instrumental material analysis
          • PIXE /PIGME:

            Pigment analysis by PIXE/PIGME giving following results:
            Filling material of the ground is pure chalk. Probably a thin lead white imprimatura is above.
            The yellow pigment is lead tin yellow.
            The earth pigments contain some iron-titanium compound as an impurity.
            [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
            • Bearbeiter/in: Jana Herrschaft
            • Date: 1991
            • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
            • Infrared reflectography
            • Underdrawing
            • - an underdrawing is not visible
              [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
                • Date: 1991
                • Stereomicroscopy
                • Infrared reflectography
                • X-radiography
                • Support
                • Single plank of red beech
                • Ground and Imprimatura
                • 'The gesso primer does not extend right to the edge of the panel, which means that the panel has been fixed to working or actual frame during painting. Probably a very thin lead white imprimatur lies on the ground.'
                  [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
                • Underdrawing
                • 'IR analyses failed to reveal any sketches.'
                • Paint Layers and Gilding
                • 'The paint layer does not extend right to the edge of the panel like the ground.
                  The brush technique used in this painting is very fine and no brushstrokes are visible. Most colours have been pre-mixed on a palette with ground fine pigments. A multi-layer technique has been used to a certain extent. The paint layers though mainly thin still give full covering, albeit in certain areas they are also transparent. Impasto has been found on the jewellery and decoration areas. The paint layer on the skin area is fully covering.'
                  [TUURNALA et al. 1991, 63-72]
                    • Date: 18.08.1982
                    • Scientific analysis
                    • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology
                    • Support
                    • Dendrochronological analysis carried out by Dr. Peter Klein established that the red beech used for this painting was felled in 1521.
                      [TUURNALA et al. 1991, 63-72]
                      • analysed by: Peter Klein
                      Condition Reports:
                      • Date: 1991
                      • 'Aging has caused craquelure, especially in the skin areas.'
                        [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]
                        History of Restoration:
                        • Date: 1991
                        • Restorations performed at different times have concealed minor damage to the paint layers, mainly on the background and skirt.
                          The brim of the hat can hardly be seen today. It is covered with the same brown used for the background, but under it a layer of green can be seen. The top coat of brown was either originally painted to cover the brim or, more probably, is a later addition. On the basis of the cracks in the paint layer it would be in any case appear that the brim was over-painted at an early stage.
                          The signature was hidden under a thin overpaint, discovered in 1988 by a microscopic study.'

                          [Tuurnala et al. 1991, 63-72]