Cranach - The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist
The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Private Collection
16.05.2022 - 07:29
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberPRIVATE_NONE-P323
Persistent Linkhttps://lucascranach.org/PRIVATE_NONE-P323
FR (1978) No.FR-none
Title:
The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist[cda 2020]
Attribution:
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder [unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
[Lempertz online database: https://www.lempertz.com/de/kataloge/lot/1141-1/1009-lucas-cranach-d-ae-werkstatt.html; accessed 08.01.2020]
Dating:
about 1512 - 1514[unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
[Lempertz online database: https://www.lempertz.com/de/kataloge/lot/1141-1/1009-lucas-cranach-d-ae-werkstatt.html; accessed 08.01.2020]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerPrivate Collection
RepositoryPrivate Collection
Location
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 37.7 x 29.4 cm
Dimensions including frame: 38.5 x 30.5 x 1.5 cm
[unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
Support:
Painting on wood
[unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
Signature / Date:
none
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
none
Description:
The painting shows the Virgin in a classical triangle composition, sitting with the infant Christ standing on her lap. To the left of the Virgin the infant St John the Baptist receives a blessing from the infant Christ, while a mountainous landscape unfolds in the background. The Virgin represented with varying accompanying figures is one of Cranach’s most frequently painted subjects both before and after the reformation.
[unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
Provenance:
- English Private Collection
- sold by Lempertz, auction 1141, Alte Kunst, 16.11.2019, Cologne, lot 1009
[Lempertz online database: https://www.lempertz.com/de/kataloge/lot/1141-1/1009-lucas-cranach-d-ae-werkstatt.html; accessed 08.01.2020]
Interpretation / History / Discussion:

About 1512 Cranach began adapting prototypes drawn from the circle of Raphael and Perugino. A very similar composition, but as a slightly larger version of this painting, exists in a private collection and was shown at the exhibition ‘Cranach der Ältere’ in the Städel-Museum, in Frankfurt 2008 [PRIVATE_NONE-P046]. Another larger version was in the auction house Im Kinsky in 2018 [PRIVATE_NONE-P297]. A third version is in a church in Opatów in Poland.[1]

[1]Parafia rzymsko-katolicka p.w. ?w. Marcina Biskupa w Opatowie, ul. S. "Grota" Roweckiego 8, 27-500 Opatów

http://www.kolegiataopatow.sandomierz.opoka.org.pl/galeria/strony/g33a.htm (accessed 30.09.2019)

[unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.10.2019
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Stereomicroscopy
  • Infrared reflectography
  • UV-light photography
  • X-radiography
  • Instrumental material analysis
  • 8.01 Support
  • The wooden panel (37.7 x 29.5 cm) is made from a single hardwood plank with the grain vertically aligned. The original thickness of the panel has been retained (c. 1.1 – 1.2 cm). It has been smoothed on the reverse and stained brown. Isolated loses are probably original. On the reverse at the top right and bottom edge remnants of a rebate have survived.
  • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
  • The panel exhibits a white ground, probably chalk based (XRF analysis: calcium). There is a barbe at the top right and bottom along the edge, suggesting that the panel was fixed in a frame while the ground was applied. The original frame has not survived.
  • 8.03 Underdrawing
  • The infrared reflectogram (Osiris, 900 – 1700 nm) shows an underdrawing applied with a black medium and brush. The execution of the figures is confident and the curved lines concentrate on a precise rendering of essential contours and details. The contours of the heads were further defined during the painting process.
  • 8.04 Paint Layers and Gilding
  • XRF analysis (Niton XLt) was used to detect the following elements and by comparing their optical characteristics the pigments were identified:

    Blue: Cu, Pb, Ca, Fe

    Pb: lead white; Cu: blue pigment containing copper; Fe: iron oxide/ ochre; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    Blue and yellow: Cu, Pb, Ca, Fe, Hg, (Sn)

    Pb: lead white; Pb, Sn: lead tin yellow; Hg: vermilion; Cu: blue pigment containing copper; Fe: iron oxide/ ochre; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    Red: Pb, Ca, Fe, Zn, (Hg, Cu)

    Pb: lead white; Zn: siccative?/ zinc white (retouching)?; Hg: vermilion; Cu: blue pigment containing copper; Fe: iron oxide/ ochre; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    Green: Cu, Ca, Pb, Fe, Sn

    Pb: lead white; Pb, Sn: lead tin yellow; Cu: green pigment containing copper; Fe: iron oxide/ ochre; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    Grey: Ca, Pb, Ti, Fe, Zn, Hg, (Cu)

    Pb: lead white; Zn: siccative?/ zinc white (retouching)?; Ti: titanium white (retouching?); Hg: vermilion; Cu: blue and green pigments containing copper; Fe: iron oxide/ ochre; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    Yellow: Pb, Ca, Sn, Cu, (Hg, Zn)

    Pb: lead white; Zn: siccative?/ zinc white (retouching)?; Pb, Sn: lead tin yellow; Hg: vermilion; Cu: blue and green pigment containing copper; Ca: chalk/ gypsum?

    The faces were laid in with a light admixture of lead white and vermilion. Shadows were modulated with grey paint and semi-transparent brownish-black glazes, some passages were accentuated with red paint, and highlights were applied with paler flesh paint. The eyes including the eyelashes and highlights were rendered with confidence and without corrections. In addition to white the eyeball also contains a considerable amount of blue pigment (azurite). The hair was applied with a fine tipped brush, using lead tin yellow to create different colours of varying intensity.

    The sky and the landscape in the background were laid in with grey paint (white and black pigments), and a gradual tonal gradation can be observed between the zenith (grey-black) and the horizon (white). Subsequently a coarsely ground and intensely coloured azurite (XRF) was used in varying admixtures with lead white (XRF). It was applied with daubs and strokes. The horizon was brightened by using a pink tone that passes over into lead tin yellow (XRF). The clouds were applied wet-in-wet and the contours were blended with a soft brush. The group of trees in the middle ground was partially executed over a black underpaint employing various green admixtures and drawn together with a final glaze. The modulation of the red robe was executed over a light red underpaint (lead white, vermilion, red iron oxide?) using a red lake. The haloes and the borders of the veil, the coat and the dress were rendered in a reddish-yellow paint (lead tin yellow). There were no obvious changes made to the composition during the painting process, nor is a signature or a date visible on the painting.

    [unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
    • examined by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • examined by: Stephanie Dietz
    • examined by: Diana Blumenroth
    Condition Reports:
    • Date: 01.10.2019
    • The painting is in a damaged and unstable condition. It has been trimmed by a few millimeters along the edges, slightly more along at the left side. Narrow wooden battens were then nailed to the edges. Two horizontal battens were applied to the reverse, a dovetail insert at the bottom right as well as numerous triangular inserts. The panel is slightly warped and exhibits numerous losses. The treatment to the reverse of the panel does not appear to have helped to reinforce and stabilize it. The x-radiography documents worm channels that are now inactive and have in part been filled.
      The paint layers are abraded, particularly in the flesh paint. There are large retouched areas at the top and bottom edges. Examination under UV-light showed retouches from various different conservation campaigns. The craquelée is uniformly distributed.
      The varnish is yellowed.
      [unpublished examination report, Heydenreich 01.10.2019]
    • examined by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • examined by: Stephanie Dietz
    • examined by: Diana Blumenroth