Cranach - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony
Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony
Lucas Cranach the Elder
The National Gallery, London
06.12.2021 - 12:24
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CDA ID / Inventory NumberUK_NGL_6538
Persistent Link
FR (1978) No.FR019
Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony[The National Gallery, revised 2011]
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, 143]
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 19]
[[The National Gallery, revised 2011]
1509[pendant dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerThe National Gallery, London
RepositoryThe National Gallery, London
Dimensions of support: 41.3 x 31 cm
Dimensions including frame: 49.3 x 38.6 cm

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]
Painting on wood
[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

'Softwood, cannot be further classified as the panel is fitted in an original frame.'
[Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]
Signature / Date:
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
Reverse of the frame:
- top centre:
inscription on paper: 'Cranach'

Reverse of the panel:
'N 2728'

[Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]
Johann the Steadfast is shown against a green background. He wears a black hat decorated with twisted ropes of small gold and seed pearl beads which pass around the brim of the front of his hat, which is also decorated with two small gold tags or aglets, and over the brim, where it appears to be attached with a bow, or where the ends of the ropes protrude. To our left the ear flap is pinned up with a large golden brooch in the form of a cross. It is studded with precious stones, including rubies at either end of the horizontal bars of the cross, and there are pearls in the corners of the arms of the cross. Part of a gold chain is visible to the right of the brooch, and two golden tags or aglets protrude at the left-hand side. A curling black feather with pale yellow circular markings is attached to the top of his cap behind the earflap. His black coat is patterned with dark grey, evidently indicating a damask weave. At the front of his coat are three tiers of slashes fastened by knots fashioned from ropes of gold and seed pearl beads similar to those trimming his hat. The high collar of his white shirt is visible through the coat: it is embroidered with a trellis pattern, in black and gold thread or beads, and trimmed with tiny pearl beads. The collar is fastened with another knot of gold beads. On the thumb of his right hand he wears two rings, one formed from small gold beads and the other a gold ring with a large blue stone. His hair and beard are dark brown and his eyes are also dark brown.

The two sitters are identified by the coats of arms on the back of the right-hand portrait. They confirm the resemblance of the sitter in the left-hand panel to portraits of Johann the Steadfast (1468-1532) Elector of Saxony, who ruled jointly with his brother Frederick the Wise (1463-1525).
[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.]
- the portraits are first recorded as 'Zwey Churfürsten aus Sachßen Conterfät an Einem Stückh' ('Two portraits of the prince electors from Saxony in one piece') in an inventory listing items in the collection of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, Karlsburg, Baden-Durlach, which had been transferred in 1688 under Margrave Friedrich VII (ruled 1677 - 1709) to the Markgräfler Hof, Basel, in order to avoid destruction by French troops in the Nine Years War or War of the Palatine Succession.[1]
- Although in 1715 Margrave Karl III Wilhelm (ruled 1709-38) founded a new capital for his court at Karlsruhe and in 1775 his successor Karl Friedrich (ruled 1738-71) completed a new palace there, many of the paintings, including NG 6538 and 6539, remained stored at Basel. In 1733 and 1776 new inventories were drawn up: the two pictures are recorded in the inventory of 1733 as 'Zwey Churfürsten in Sachsen in Schwartz und vergoldeter Rahm so sich zusamen legen laßen' ('Two prince electors in Saxony in a black and gilded frame which can be folded together').[2]
- sold at Basel in 1808. They were purchased, along with nearly a hundred others, by Peter Vischer (1751-1823), later called Vischer-Sarasin, of Schloss Wildenstein in Switzerland, a merchant and municipal councillor of Basel. They remained at Schloss Wildenstein in the possession of the Vischer family (the last of whom, Peter Leonhard, died in 1990)
- auctioned at Christie's, London, on 6 July 1990, no. 42. [3]
- they were purchased through Christie's in 1991. [4]

[1] Vey 1990, citing Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe no. 56/4077.

[2]. Ibid., citing Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe nos 56/874 and 47/693.

[3]. Ibid.

[4]. NG Annual Report, 1991-2, 16-17.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.]
Basel 1974, Nos. 596, 597
London 1997
London 2008, No. 18
London 2008/2009, Nos. 53, 54
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Görres 2015 B48
Müller 2015270, 271Fig. 4
Dohe 201546Fig. 2
Bonnet, Görres 201542-4311p. 43
Exhib. Cat. Coburg 2010195
Bonnet, Kopp-Schmidt, Görres 2010154-15511
Borchert 201027
Martin 201055
Müller 201062-63Fig. 5
Borggrefe 201070Fig. 5, p. 71
Fasert 2007
Heydenreich 2007 A60, 76-80, 86-88, 98, 106-107, 149, 169, 200-202, 221-222, 394
Schade 200794
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007150-15218pp. 151, 152
Langmuir 2006114-115
Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005103-104
Schade 200314
Cat. London 2001156
Cat. London 199916-19
Heydenreich 1998 A186-187, 197, 198, 199Fig. 21.20
Grimm 199875, 77Fig. 9.12
Campbell et al. 1997
NGL 1992
White, Pilc 199588-89
Rebel 1994134-136Fig. A75
Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994352-353, 371
NGL 199216
Dülberg 199081, 18840Figs. 450-453
Friedländer, Rosenberg 197971No. 19Fig. 19
Koepplin 1974 AFig. 2
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974143, 264, 422, 683596Pl. 8
Koepplin 1972 A347
Rudloff-Hille 1953 A
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
The related colouring suggests that the panel paintings were not created independently of one another. It would appear that the father, Johann the Steadfast, attached importance to the fact that this diptych should manifest his affection and his hopes for his son and his future destiny as elector of Saxony.
[see Brinkmann, 150]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Despite differences in the depiction of father and son there are obvious similarities. The green in the background of the father is repeated in the son’s robe and the black in the background of the son is repeated in the robe of Johann the Steadfast. The dark clothing and the relatively smaller depiction of the figure of the father make him appear as it were to withdraw into the background, whereas his son due to the green robe and the close-up representation appears to stand out against the dark background.
[see Baker, Henry 2001, 156], [see Langmuir 2006, 115], [see Brinkmann 2007, 150]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Brinkmann interprets the optical discrepancy between the two sitters as a reference to the composition of diptychs in which the Virgin or the Man of Sorrows is venerated by a half-length donor. [see Brinkmann 2007, 150]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
The three-quarter profile depiction of Jaohann the Steadfast facing right corresponds in the dimensions and angle of the figure to the familiar type of Cranach diptych. [see Brinkmann 2007, 150]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
It is striking that father and son do not look at each other and are at the same time shown from different perspectives. The double portrait of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora, created in the Cranach workshop in 1526 (Private Collection, Hamburg, FR Nos. 189, 190) is similar in this respect. Luther like Johann the Steadfast is shown as a bust portrait in three-quarter profile on the left. His gaze is fixed on a point beyond the picture plane to the right. The depiction of Katharina von Bora exhibits similarities with Johann Friedrich. One theory which would explain this discrepancy within the diptych is that the woman who is by nature smaller and daintier would manifest greater presence if shown as a half-length figure. As the six year old Johann Friedrich is represented in place of a wife and is in reality considerably smaller than his father he is shown frontally as a half-length figure. In contrast Luther’s wife is shown in three-quarter profile, but it is apparent that both face the viewer. Bünsche and Grimm presume that in the case of the double portrait of Luther and his wife the differences are due to the fact that a portrait of the Reformer already existed. According to Dunkerton et al. a frequently used preparatory sketch served as a template for the painting of Johann the Steadfast, whereas Johann Friedrich was portrayed specifically for this painting. Bünsche and Grimm’s theory that the asymmetrical depiction relies solely on the existence of an archetype of Luther seems absurdin the light of the serial production of paintings of both Luther and his wife. Koepplin proposes the theory for the London diptych that the discrepancy may result from different authorship. However after comparison with other diptychs the aforementioned theory that the weaker one of the pair on the right was depicted as a half-length figure also seems plausible. [Friedländer/Rosenberg 1979, Nos. 189, 190 150], [see Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994, 352-353], [see Rebel 1994, 134-135], [see Dunkerton et al. 1999, 16]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Gunnar Heydenreich assumes that both panels were probably constructed within a narrow time frame by the same carpenter as they each consist of three butt-joined planks, varying in width and these widths correspond on both panels. [Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]
Claus Grimm assumes that only the preparatory design for the composition of the portrait of Johann Friedrich is by Cranach. According to Grimm the underdrawing and the painting was executed by an assistant. However this has cannot yet been proved as neither an infrared reflectogram nor examination under the stereomicroscope has revealed an underdrawing. This does not mean that there isn’t one. [see Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994, 371], [see Heydenreich 2007, 106-107, 339], [see Sandner 1998, 56-59]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
The diptych closes from right to left, which is why the verso of Johann Friedrich shows both coats-of-arms pointing up. When closed together both panels in their respective frames form a small box. [see Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, Fig. 2], [Dülberg 1990, 188, Fig. 452]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Whereas Dülberg assumes that the diptych was primarily kept shut due to the format as well as the original frame and associated locking system, Heydenreich argues that it was on display: ‘The painter, however, reckoned with the fact that these diptychs would not only be opened temporarily like a book but be set up at an angle of slightly more than 90 degrees for example on a piece of furniture.’ [see Dülberg 1990, 81], [Heydenreich 2007, 227], [Fastert 2007, 142]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Fasert presumes, that the diptych may have been a diplomatic gift, because it shows the future ruler Johann Friedrich and his father. [see Fastert 2007, 143]
[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 2016
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • 8.01 Support
  • The panels are each formed from three thin boards of wood with grain running horizontally.
    The backs of both panels are painted black. On NG6538 there is a later inscription in red which reads N27 28. Two shields are painted on the back of NG6539
  • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
  • The grounds of the obverses are of chalk. The reverses are painted directly on to the wood with no ground. There does not appear to be any priming.
  • 8.03 Underdrawing
  • - nothing that could be definitely identified as underdrawing was found with infrared reflectography.
  • 8.04 Paint Layers and Gilding
  • The medium of the paint of the green background and black robe in NG6538, and of the green sleeve in NG6539, was identified by GC–MS analysis as linseed oil.[1] A sample of red paint from the pattern on the sleeves in NG6539 was found to contain linseed oil together with with a little pine resin.
    Verdigris forms the basis for the green background of Johann the Steadfast (NG6538). In the opaque underpaint it is mixed with lead white and lead-tin yellow, while in the final translucent layers it is used alone. Very similar green paint mixtures were used for the main colour of the costume of Johann Friedrich (NG6539). The intense red strips on the boy’s costume consist of vermilion of exceptional quality and the same pigment combined with red earth and black makes up the more brownish-red stripes. There are pale yellow highlights of lead-tin yellow on the gold chain. The basic pale pink tone of the flesh paint is a mixture of white and a little vermilion, with some black pigment in addition in the shadows.
    Painting technique
    In common with many pictures by Cranach the flesh is thinly painted. Details such as the twisted braids decorating Johann the Steadfast’s hat have been skilfully painted, with rapidly applied touches for the pearls and impasto yellow highlights for the gold, for example for the threads at the end, where the lighter green underpaint has been deliberately left exposed around them to indicate the overall shape of the tuft at the top right of the hat. Similarly, the feather is formed of wet-in-wet strokes of grey and black and has circular markings with the impasto typical of a bodied lead-tin yellow paint.
    [1] There was no indication of heat-prepolymerisation of of the addition of resin.
  • 8.05 Framing
  • The frames are original. The profiles, with their simple deep scotia moulding and raised outer edge enriched with a narrow half round, are similar to those found on other frames of works by Cranach of this period.[1] They are joined with a double mortise and tenon joint.[2] It can be seen in X-ray images that neither frame fits the panel exactly: there are gaps top and bottom, although the frames fit tightly on the left and right; however, this can be explained by the natural contraction across the grain of the panels, and is not any indication that the portraits were not originally in these frames.
    The outer edges and the backs of the frames are painted black. The inner mouldings were originally gilded although what is now visible is mainly the golden-yellow oil mordant (adhesive) [3], and only fragments of the gold leaf remain. Traces of this mordant pass beneath the black background on NG6539 confirming that it is original and was already in place when the background was painted. On NG6538 there are traces of the original final translucent green paint of the background on the gold, indicating that it was applied when the frames were complete. However, painting of the portraits and decoration of the frames were probably carried out concurrently, since there are also traces of gold from the frame on top of the black background of NG6539 at the left edge The frames are joined with iron hinges and handmade iron nails; this was done after gilding as the tips of the nails are visible in the mouldings.[4]
    [1] [Koepplin 1974]; [Heydenreich 2007 A, 76–9]
    [2] [Heydenreich 2007 A, 76]
    [3] FTIR analysis suggested that the binding medium of the mordant is oil.
    [4] Ibid., p. 78; fig. 60, p. 80, shows the hinge.
    [Susan Foister, ‘Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous’ published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.]
      • Date: 11. 2010
      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
      • Infrared reflectography
      • Lucas Cranach the Elder - The National Gallery, London - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony - Infrared Images
      • 8.07
        - An underdrawing is not readily visible
        [Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2017]
        • photographed by: The National Gallery, London
        • Date: 2007
        • Scientific analysis
        • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
        • Instrumental material analysis
        • 8.04 Paint Layers and Gilding
        • "Linseed oil was identified in green, red and black paints on the portraits of Johann the Steadfast and Johann Friedrich I the Magnanimous (1509) and there is no doubt that drying oils predominate in his panel painting."
          [Heydenreich 2007, 169], [see also White, Pilc 1995, 88-89]
            • Date: 12.05.1995
            • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
            • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
            • 8.07
            • Sample No.: 5
              Sample location: edge, right-hand side
              Brief description of paint: trace of yellow brown line on green background, – is this the same as mordant on frame?
              - is this the correct cross-section photograph (see pdf for image)
              • analysed by: Ashok Roy
              • Date: 24.04.1995
              • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
              • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
              • 8.07
              • Sample No.: 1
                Sample location: lower edge for layer structure.
                Brief description of paint: miniscule sample of greyish-pink flesh of hand
                - Greyish pink (lead white, trace black and vermilion (see pdf for image)
                • analysed by: Ashok Roy
                • Date: 24.04.1995
                • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
                • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
                • 8.07
                • Sample No.: 2
                  Sample location: extreme right-hand edge
                  Brief description of paint: black of tunic
                  - grey (dark) some charcoal black fragments (see pdf for image)
                  • analysed by: Ashok Roy
                  • Date: 24.04.1995
                  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
                  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
                  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - The National Gallery, London - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony - AnalysisLucas Cranach the Elder - The National Gallery, London - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony - Analysis
                  • 8.07
                  • Sample No.: 4
                    Sample location: extreme left-hand edge and extra fragment of ground for XRD)
                    Brief description of paint: Green of background (several flakes)
                    - white chalk ground
                    - dense underlayer of white and lead-tin yellow and verdigris
                    - verdigris based glaze
                    EDX of white ground : Ca
                    • analysed by: Ashok Roy
                    • Date: 24.04.1995
                    • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
                    • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
                    • 8.07
                    • Sample No.: 3
                      Sample location: extreme edge, lower right-hand side
                      Brief description of paint: grey of tunic, edge of sleeve
                      - Grey largely charcoal-like pigment with a little white – see also grey fragment in S2
                      • analysed by: Ashok Roy
                      • Date: 1995
                      • Technical Examination
                      • 8.05 Framing
                      • 'There is no evidence that the frame is not original but its construction and the presence of small patches of unpainted ground rather than broken ’barbe’ at the upper and lower edges indicate that the frame was assembled around the panel after it was painted and not before the application of the ground and the paint layers as was usually the case in the fifteenth century.'
                        [National Gallery Examination and Conservation Report 1995 (unpublished)]
                          • Date: 1994
                          • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
                          • Infrared reflectography
                          • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
                          • Instrumental material analysis
                          • 8.01 Support
                          • - the support is a softwood panel. An examination to establish the species was not possible as the painting is fixed in the original frame. The wood is of high quality. It is a fine-grained wood, which does not exhibit any knots in the x-radiograph. The panel consists of three planks joined in the shortest direction of expansion (horizontal).
                            - the widths of the planks are c. 13.8 cm, 17.5 cm und 13 cm (12.8 cm).
                            - a wooden insert measuring c. 1.4 x 1.9 cm was used on the right below the centre to treat an area of damage (7 cm from the right, 19.5 cm from the bottom).
                            - there is no reinforcement visible along the joins. The reverse has a very smooth finish. The edges of the panel are straight. The format of the panel has not been altered.
                          • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
                          • - the ground layer on the recto is white and relatively thinly applied
                            - there are numerous tiny bubbles in the chalk ground, which were sanded down. These appear consistently white in the x-radiograph and must therefore be filled with paint containing lead
                            - the barbe is preserved on all four sides, but is pronounced to a varying degree
                            - with respect to the imprimatura examination achieved the following results: ‚The tiny, sanded down bubbles in the chalk ground are filled with a medium that absorbs x-rays, and which is irrespective of the colour of the paint. This observation suggests an isolating layer with lead-containing oil or an imprimatura containing lead. In the cross-section (of the sample taken from the edge) an imprimatura could not be verified.’
                          • 8.03 Underdrawing
                          • - an underdrawing could not be detected employing infrared reflectography
                          • 8.04 Paint Layers and Gilding
                          • - the flesh paint contains primarily lead white and relatively coarse vermilion (A. Roy, verbal communication). The flesh paint was applied with an initial pale flesh coloured tone and subsequently modulated with brown glazes. The highlights employing an admixture of white, red, single blue pigments and possibly some black were applied in part over the brown glaze and were then again shaded with greyish brown glazes. (This multiple layer structure is particularly visible in the area of the eyelids.) The painted highlights over the brown glazes exhibit drying cracks; it is possible that the glazes were not yet dry. In comparison with its pendant there are fewer highlights visible in the x-radiograph.
                            - the green paint in the background was applied in numerous layers. ‘While the underpainting is a lighter, opaque admixture of presumably verdigris and lead tin yellow, the upper layer apears to be dark green and more transparent. However pigment particles (presumably verdigris) are also visible in the cross-section of this layer. The semi-transparent green layer was applied after completion of the black robe.
                            - according to a verbal communication by Ashok Roy lead tin yellow was identified in the elector’s jewellery.
                            - in the black and green areas of the painting a brush of c. 5 mm in width was employed
                          • 8.05 Framing
                          • - original frame (mortise and tenon frame) with a steeply sloped rainsill. The dimensions of the frame are 49.3 x 38.6 cm. The members are 3.8 to 3.9 cm wide and 3.0 cm deep. The frame has a double mortise and tenon join.
                            - both panels are held together with the original iron hinge
                            - the hinge was attached to the frame after the coating was applied. the tips of the nails are partially visible on the inner profile of the frame and have slightly damaged it.
                            - Coatings: the flat edge, the side edges and the reverse are black; the flute and the inner edge or the bottom champfer are gilded over a white ground and a yellowish or ocher coloured mordent. The mordent covers the background in places. According to a verbal communication by Ashok Roy the mordent on the frame is the same as that on the background and contains large quantities of Si (silicon), quantities of Fe (iron) and Ca (calcium) and some lead.’
                            - The following observations were made regarding the sequence of framing and painting: traces of the green paint from the background and the black paint from the robe were detected on the frame beneath the gilding. The frame was gilded after the painting was finished as there are also traces of mordant on the green background.

                            [Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]
                              • Date: 1990
                              • Technical Examination
                              • 8.02 Ground and Imprimatura
                              • - the verso of the panel does not exhibit a ground layer beneath the black coating
                                [Dülberg 1990, 188]
                                  • Date: 1974
                                  • Technical Examination
                                  • 8.05 Framing
                                  • The frame exhibits the same profile and finish as that of Cranach’s portrait of Christoph Scheurl from 1509.
                                    [see Koepplin, Falk, Exhib. Cat Basel 1974,Vol. 2, No. 596, 597]
                                      • Date:
                                      • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
                                      • X-radiography
                                      • Lucas Cranach the Elder - The National Gallery, London - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony - X-RadiographsLucas Cranach the Elder - The National Gallery, London - Portrait of Johann the Steadfast from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony - X-Radiographs
                                      • 8.07
                                          Condition Reports:
                                          • Date: 2016
                                          • The panels and frames have suffered worm damage, but are otherwise in good condition. The dull yellow paint on the frames is the exposed mordant or adhesive for the original gilding; only traces of gold leaf remain. The paint of NG6538 is in excellent condition, with only a few tiny flake losses. There may be some fading of a red lake pigment in the flesh paint of the sitter's hands. NG6539 has more small losses, from the green paint of the sitter's costume, along the grain of the wood, but is still in very good condition.
                                            [Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.
                                            • Date: 23.02.1995
                                            • Support:
                                              constructed from three horizontal planks, possibly lime or beech; no evidence that the frame is not original but its construction and the presence of small patches of unpainted ground rather than a broken 'barbe' at the upper and lower edges indicate that the frame was assembled around the panel after it was painted and not before the application of the ground and paint layers as was usually the case in the fifteenth century.
                                              Panel in a very good condition, flat and with the joins secure (they can be detected only in raking light and in X-radiograph), but both panel and frame have suffered some woodworm damage. The exit holes from the panel are all through the back and have mostly been plugged with an x-ray opaque material. The damage to the frame is more extensive with many exit holes. The tunneling under the sharp profiles of the rebate and mouldings makes them particularly vulnerable to damage. The status of the gilding that survives will be investigated but it is not intended that any treatment be carried out to the frame other than consolidation of the areas weakened by woodworm.

                                              Paint and ground:
                                              The painting is generally well-preserved, but there is an area of tented blisters in the green paint to the right of the head. Some slight damage has been caused by past treatment of similar blisters in the sitter's right cheek. Some of the fine details executed with black paint - for example the eyebrows and edges of the beard - is a little rubbed. The horizontal line of spatters across the costume is on top of the varnish.
                                              Surface coating: The varnish is thin and moderately discoloured. Over this is a layer of orange-coloured surface dirt (probably nicotine). The breakdown through oxidation of the old varnish seems to be emphasizing the craquelure of the painting.

                                              Treatment proposed:
                                              Remove surface dirt and discoloured varnish. Secure the blisters and consolidate the frame. Revarnish and retouch where necessary.
                                              [Examination made by Jill Dunkerton, 23 Feb 1995].
                                            • examined by: Jill Dunkerton
                                            • Date: 1990
                                            • 'The diptych has been preserved within the context of its original structure.`
                                              [Dülberg 1990, 188]
                                              History of Restoration:
                                              • Date: 03. 1995 - 06. 1995
                                              • Cleaned and restored by Jill Dunkerton, frame consolidated by Louisa Davey
                                                Detailed report:
                                                The layer of nicotine-coloured surface dirt was removed with saliva, making an appreciable difference to the colour of the painting. The varnish underneath was not especially discoloured but it had become sufficiently opaque for there to be a considerable improvement to be saturation of the colours on its removal, above all in the black of the costume where many details of its construction had not previously been apparent. The varnish was readily soluble in IMS (industrial methylated spirits) and is unlikely to be very old. The retouching were also readily soluble although where they were thicker some acetone was used.
                                                This panel turned out to be more extensively retouched than had been expected. The cracked area of the cheek previously thought to have been damaged by blister treatment turned out to have been repainted to cover the dark lines or shadows which seem to be part of the final modeling, although slightly rubbed and perhaps darkened in some way. The cracks were in the repaint which was soluble in the same solvents as the other retouching. In the photographs taken during cleaning it can be seen how the much the repaint flattened the structure and volume of the face. Other retouching on the head were in the hair and beard, especially well-preserved. The hands are more thinly and less vigorously painted and some fading of the colour may have occurred: a band of pinker-coloured paint can be seen along the lower edge where it was once protected by the frame (the planks of the panel have shrunk slightly across the grain so that edges which were once covered are now exposed). The hands have the slightly grey colour characteristic of faded pinks but there may also be a thin film of old surface dirt. No attempt was made to remove this for fear of accentuating the difference between the pale hands and ruddier and more densely painted face.
                                                The green background had been extensively stippled with retouching to reduce the uneven application of the transparent green glaze. There are only a few small areas of damage and abrasion (notably in the upper corners) and most of the patchy effect is part of the original bold and rapid technique, perhaps now exaggerated to some extend by slight discoloration of the paint. Some of the marks indicate the end of the brushstrokes, others are the results of blotting the glaze with a rag. In several areas the grids of minute spots of glaze which result from the blotting can be seen. Their survival is a good indication of the excellent state of preservation of the glaze.
                                                A small area of blistering paint in the background to the right of the head was treated with sturgeon glue and an electrically-heated spatula.
                                                During the cleaning of this panel and NG 6539 evidence was discovered which confirmes that the frames are original. It seems that the panels were not framed when the painting began but that by the later stages of painting, including the application of the glazes, the frames had been fitted. Often the green glazes do not reach the edges and corners, specks of paint from the paintings appear on the edges of the frame rebates (confirmed by sampling as the same paint) and in the case of this panel a smear of the yellow brown mordant used in the gliding of the frame can be seen on the green background along the right edge.
                                                The outer edges and the sharpest profiles of the mouldings of the frames are particularly vulnerable to damage caused by the collapse of woodworm tunnels running just below the surface. These areas were injected with Paraloid B-67 in white spirit to consolidate the wood and a few splintered and collapsed areas were shored up with a filler consisting of woodflour and B-67. Retouching of the frames (carried out during the restoration of the panels with pigments in Paraloid B-72) has been kept to a minimum, just reducing some of the lightest and more recent-looking areas of damage. The frames were masked during the final varnishing of the painted surfaces.
                                                Some of the fillings were replaced or adjusted with a filler consisting of chalk in a polyvinyl alcohol/polyvinyl acetate emulsion filler. To obtain optimum reflectance for the brilliant greens the base colour was painted in watercolours before the application of the first varnish, Ketone-N in white spirit with a few drops of benzyl alcohol to ensure wetting and saturation of the black paint. The rest of the retouching was carried out with pigments in Paraloid B-72 and the final sprayed varnish was Ketone-N in white spirit. In the green areas care was taken to retouch only where damage could be seen to habe occurred ¿ the brushmarking and blotting have been left clearly visible.
                                              • conservation treatment by: Jill Dunkerton
                                              • Date: 1948
                                              • - 1948 cleaned
                                                [Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974]