Cranach - Triptych with Christ among the Doctors [right panel]: The Marriage at Cana [recto], The Nativity [verso]
Triptych with Christ among the Doctors [right panel]: The Marriage at Cana [recto], The Nativity [verso]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Private Collection
19.01.2022 - 00:57
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberPRIVATE_NONE-P187c
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FR (1978) No.FR-none
Triptych with Christ among the Doctors [right panel]: The Marriage at Cana [recto], The Nativity [verso][cda 2018]
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
[Erichsen 1994, 157]
Circle of Lucas Cranach the Eldersold at Lempertz in 1968 as by 'A Master of the environs of Kulmbach, in the Circle of Lucas Cranach the Elder'
Matthes Cranach [Erichsen 1994, 157]
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about 1510 - 1512[Erichsen 1994, 157]
about 1515 - 1520[L. Meyer, W. Schade in: Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
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Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerPrivate Collection
RepositoryPrivate Collection
Dimensions of support: 164.2 x 59.7 cm
[Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
Painting on wood
[Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Interior: the infant Jesus is shown in the foreground at the right on a straw covered crib, and surrounded by four angels. In the middle ground the Virgin kneels towards her child, while Joseph holds a candle and looks out at the viewer. The ox and ass are also present. In the background two shepherds enter the ruin on a ladder.
Exterior: Jesus and his mother are represented here at the Marriage at Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine.
- (possibly) commissioned by Christoph von Scheurl (1481-1542), jurist, diplomat and humanist, c. 1512, and donated to
- (possibly) the sanctuary church at Wallersberg, Weismain, Bavaria
- by 1948 private collection, Tilburg, The Netherlands
- 29 November 1968 at Lempertz, Cologne, lot 31, colour pl. VIII, pl. 2, as 'Meister aus der Gegend von Kulmbach aus dem Kreise von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren', where purchased by Dr. Gustav Rau
- 8 Dec 2009 at Christie's, London, lot 15
[Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
Portland 2005, No. 28
Bergamo 2002, No. 28
Cologne/Munich 2001/2002, No. 28
Paris 2000/2001, No. 28
Tilburg 1948, No. 82
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
[...] Erichsen was the first to propose that it might be an early work by Cranach the Elder's brother, Matthes Cranach, painted in Kronach, Upper Franconia, where Matthes returned after his studies in Wittenberg. [...] If not Matthes, Erichsen argues that the triptych must be by another pupil or workshop collaborator of Cranch the Elder's, painted to a specific commission. [...] Mr. Ludwig Meyer and Dr. Werner Schade independently suggest an attribution to the Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder and a date circa 1515-20. Dr. Schade notes that the picture displays very accomplished handling, and may well be the work of a pupil in Cranach's studio who might later have become a master in his own right and subsequently changed his style.
[Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]
In his note to the travelling exhibition of Dr. Rau's collection, Frédéric Elsig refers to the unusual iconography of the altarpiece, which, by juxtaposing The Miraculous Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, The Marriage at Cana and Christ Among the Doctors, draws a parallel between bread, wine and The Word. Elsig notes that such a pictorial programme is likely to have been suggested by a humanist, which supports the Scheurl hypothesis. The charming symbolic alignment suggests that The Word, and the words that compose and express it, possess the same nourishing and inspirational qualities as food and wine, while at the same time the equation of the Eucharist with the Scripture speaks to a latent Lutheran philosophy. The unexpected and highly unusual juxtaposition of The Nativity with the alms-giving Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia adds to these sentiments an idea of The Nativity as an act of Divine Mercy, as indeed are Christ's miracles on the open wings - a mercy which brings nourishment, inspiration and salvation. Such a complex, nuanced and meaningful programme could well have been the invention of Scheurl himself, the devout man-of-letters and ally to Luther.[Christie's Online database;; accessed 20.05.2019]