Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ

Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ

Titles

Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ

[cda 2015]

Epitaph for Prince Wolfgang of Anhalt

[Schulze 2004, 168]

Painting on lime wood, transferred to a plywood board

Medium

Painting on lime wood, transferred to a plywood board

[Schade 1974, 390] [Findeisen 2001, 185]

The painted epitaph depicts the Baptism of Christ in the river Jordan. Standing at the right edge of the painting is Christ wearing a loincloth, looking directly at the viewer and holding his hands in an attitude of prayer. St John the Baptist stands behind in the river. He wears

The painted epitaph depicts the Baptism of Christ in the river Jordan. Standing at the right edge of the painting is Christ wearing a loincloth, looking directly at the viewer and holding his hands in an attitude of prayer. St John the Baptist stands behind in the river. He wears the typical fur robe and is identified by his considerably darker skin. St John has scooped up a bowl of water from the Jordan and pours it over Christ's head. The Holy Ghost, who has been sent by God the Father from an auriole framed by clouds, hovers over Christ in the shape of a dove. A large number of angels with trombones enliven the clear sky.

The deceased (1566) Duke Wolfgang of Anhalt, to whom this epitaph is dedicated, kneels in the left corner close to the edge of the painting and opposite the baptism scene. He wears a splendid fur-trimmed coat over a black robe as well as a triple chained gold necklace with a portrait medallion bearing an inscription. His grey beard is cut straight across beneath the chin.

Isolated figurative groups have gathered on different islands in the background landscape. Between Wolfgang and the Baptist male representatives of the Anhalt family are visible, in the first row Wolfgang's cousin Georg III., Johann IV. and Joachim I., the sons of Johann IV appear to be represented behind to the left. Joachim Ernst of Anhalt can be identified in the centre, possibly flanked by his brothers Karl and Bernhard VII.

Behind the baptism scene in the middle-ground is a large group of reformers and scholars, in the front Luther and Melanchthon. Johann Forster can also be identified in this group.

Finally in the background women and children are depicted who probably represent members of the Anhalt house and their more distant relatives. A veduta is visible on the horizon, which appears to be a representation of Wittenberg.

[Görres, cda 2015]

Attribution
Lucas Cranach the Younger

Attribution

Lucas Cranach the Younger

[Schade 1974, 96]

Production date
1568

Production date

1568

[dated]

Dimensions
Dimensions of visible surface 274 x 203.5 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of visible surface 274 x 203.5 cm

  • Dimensions including frame: 347 x 276.5 x 23 cm

  • [Heydenreich, cda 2015]

Signature / Dating
Artist's insignia and date at the bottom left: serpent with dropped wings, facing right, and dated '1568'; in yellow paint

Signature / Dating

  • Artist's insignia and date at the bottom left: serpent with dropped wings, facing right, and dated '1568'; in yellow paint

  • [cda 2015]

Inscriptions and Labels
In the middle-ground Luther holds an open book with the following text: - The title extends over both pages: 'Matth. …

Inscriptions and Labels

Inscriptions, Badges:

  • In the middle-ground Luther holds an open book with the following text:
  • - The title extends over both pages:
  • 'Matth. III Xvi[?]'
  • - left page:
  • 'Diess ist
  • mein liber
  • Son, an wel=
  • chem ich ein'
  • - right page: 'wolgefalle
  • habe, den
  • sollet ihr
  • hören.'
  • [Görres, cda 2015]
  • - inscription (after [Wieman 1907, 69f.]):
  • Piis manib.
  • Illustriss. Pr. ac Dn. D. Guolphgangi Dei Gr. Pr. Anhalt. Com.
  • Ascaniae Dn. Servestae et Bernburgi etc., qui Servestae pie de-
  • functus est anno Christi MDLXVI Martii D. XXIII. H. noct. XI.
  • Min. XLV. cumque magno familiae patriaeque luctu sepultus,
  • mensis eiusdem D. XXVII. H. X., aetatis anno LXXIIII currente,
  • In hoc choro, quem una cum templi parte contigua quae est inter
  • portas austral. et bor. ope sua fecit instaurari placidam.
  • Princeps Anhaltinae domus
  • Guolphgangus Ascaniae comes
  • Servesta quem dominum suum
  • Et Berneburga norat: O Patriae pater
  • Cui cura prima erat Deus, Temp. M.
  • Tutela legum proxima, D.
  • Salus quiritum tertia, H.
  • Postrema habiri asilum pauperum fuit. M.
  • Ardens amore coelitum, Aet. Pr.
  • Regnique particeps sui, An. Chris
  • Gnate o Dei vitae satur, ti
  • Fide supremam clausit hic firma diem Mundi
  • Senum sub hoste Martio,
  • Vicena lux et tertia,
  • Nonamque post hora altera
  • Punctumque fluxerat quadrantis ultimi.
  • Guolphgange vixisti pie,
  • O pax Anhaltinae domus.
  • Sepulte dormias senex,
  • Tristata sunt ob cuncta principem suum.
  • Patruo magno et parentis loco habito,
  • Nepp. et heredes Joachimus Ernestus et
  • Bernhardus FFr. Et PPr. Anhalt. moesti H. M. F. FF.
Owner
Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St. Bartholomäi, Zerbst
Repository
Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St. Bartholomäi, Zerbst
Location
Zerbst
CDA ID
DE_KBZ_NONE-KBZ001
FR (1978) Nr.
FR-none
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_KBZ_NONE-KBZ001/

Provenance

  • St. Bartholomäus 'an der Südseite im Chorraum' (on the south side of the choir) (earliest record in BKD Anhalt 1892)
  • now on the north side of the choir, St Bartholomäus
    [Wulf 2016: Kat.nr. Ze01]

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Wulf 2016 147ff., 258, 310
AuthorImke Wulf
TitleProtestantische Gemäldeepitaphien im Raum Wittenberg und in angrenzenden Territorien. Zur Entwicklung und Funktion des Gemäldeepitaphs vom Beginn der lutherischen Reformation bis zur Veröffentlichung des Konkordienbuches. 1517-1580
Place of PublicationPetersberg (Imhof)
Year of Publication2016
Rhein 2015 48
AuthorStefan Rhein
TitleLucas Cranach der Jüngere und Philipp Melanchthon. Zu den Spuren einer Wittenberger Beziehung
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages42-51
Slenczka 2015 A
AuthorRuth Slenczka
TitlePolitische Porträtkultur im Dienst der Konfessionalisierung: Die Zerbster "Taufe Christi" (1568) von Lukas Cranach d. J.
Publicationin Eva Krems, Sigrid Ruby, eds., Das Porträt als kulturelle Praxis
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2015
Wolf 2015 169, 170
AuthorAnja Wolf
TitleDie 'Taufe Christi' von 1556. Einblicke in die Arbeitsweise Lucas Cranachs des Jüngeren
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages168-179
Meys 2009 823f.
AuthorOliver Meys
TitleMemoria und Bekenntnis. Die Grabdenkmäler evangelischer Landesherren im Heiligen Römischen Reich Deutscher Nation im Zeitalter der Konfessionalisierung
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication2009
Lenz 2008
TitleKatalog der Leichenpredigten uns sonstiger Trauerschriften in den Kirchenbibliotheken St. Nikolai und St. Thomas zu Leipzig
Place of PublicationStuttgart
Year of Publication2008
Schulze 2004 166-168 p. 168
AuthorIngrid Schulze
TitleLucas Cranach d. J. und die protestantische Bildkunst in Sachsen und Thüringen. Frömmigkeit, Theologie, Fürstenreformation
Place of PublicationBucha near Jena
Year of Publication2004
Findeisen 2001 171-186
AuthorPeter Findeisen
TitleBildnisse des Fürsten Wolfgang und Joachim von Anhalt Zerbst, Dessau und Köthen
Publicationin, ES THVN IHER VIEL FRAGEN. Kunstgeschichte in Mitteldeutschland. Hans-Joachim Krause gewidmet
SeriesBeiträge zur Denkmalkunde in Sachsen-Anhalt
Volume2
Place of PublicationPetersberg
Year of Publication2001
Pages171-186
Dehio 1999 936
Authorn. a.
TitleHandbuch der Deutschen Kunstdenkmäler. Sachsen-Anhalt II: Regierungsbezirke Dessau und Halle
Place of PublicationBerlin, Munich
Year of Publication1999
Specht 1998 288
AuthorReinhold Specht
TitleGeschichte der Stadt Zerbst
Place of PublicationZerbst
Year of Publication1998
Drescher 1983 280
TitleKunstdenkmäler des Bezirks Magdeburg: Bildband
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1983
Schade 1974 96, 390
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Malerfamilie Cranach
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1974
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schade1974
Schade 1968 B 71
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Epitaphbilder Lucas Cranach d. J.
Publicationin Bozena Steinborn, ed., Ze Studiów nad Sztuka XVI Wieku na Slasku i w Krajach Sasiednich(Materialy z konferencji urzadzonej przez Muzeum Slaskie we Wroclaw 10 i 17 grudnia 1966 roku)
Place of PublicationBreslau
Year of Publication1968
Pages63-76
Schade 1956 107
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Altar- und Epitaphbilder Lucas Cranachs d. J. [Diplomarbeit]
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1956
Wiemann 1907 68ff.
TitleGeschichte der Hof- und Stifts-Kirche zu St. Bartholomäi
Place of PublicationZerbst
Year of Publication1907
Büttner Pfänner zu Thal 1892 441f.
EditorFranz Büttner Pfänner zu Thal
TitleAnhalts Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler
Place of PublicationDessau, Leipzig (Kahle)
Year of Publication1892

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

The epitaph painting has always been in St Bartholomew’s, Parish Church of Zerbst, which served both as collegiate church and court chapel and it is where in 1565 Wolfgang of Anhalt had his tomb erected. As stated in the inscription on the epitaph he was buried a year later in the choir and his heirs Joachim Ernst and Bernhard of Anhalt commissioned the epitaph painting. According to the inscription it was hung close to the tomb, later its position was changed many times and it now hangs on the north wall of the choir.

During the transition to Calvinism numerous painted panels were removed from the Church of St Bartholomew, but not Wolfgang’s epitaph. Admittedly representations of him were largely rejected, which culminated in 1662 with the superintendent’s urgent demand to have the ‚nackende Baderbild‘(image of naked bathers) removed from the church (Wiemann 1907, 68), nevertheless it remained in the church. Only the painted panel has survived from the original epitaph. The inscription was recorded by Wiemann (Wiemann 1907, 69f.). Thanks to a photograph take in 1927 the original presentation is also recorded: a wooden frame with sixteen elements showing proof of ancestry, and beneath the panel with the inscription, now lost. […]

The inclusion of the Lutheran theologian makes clear reference to the Wittenberg reformation, and is reinforced by the vedute showing Wittenberg, indicating the origin of the new faith. Wolfgang of Anhalt encouraged reformation thought in Zerbst at an early stage, between 1522 and 1524. He was committed early on to the reformation, signing the Confessio Augustana in 1529 at the Reichstag in Speyer and he was one of the founding members of the Schmalkaldic League. As early as 1526 he was affiliated to the Protestant Union in Gotha and in the same year he establish the reformation in Bernburg, before all other parts of Anhalt under his rule followed.

[Wulf 2016, Kat.nr. Ze01]

  • Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ, 1568

Images

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Technical studies

03. 2015Technical examination / Scientific analysis

Framing

- original frame with a depth of 23 cm

- the left and right frame members are each decorated with eight carved coats-of-arms, the top and bottom members are decorated with painted cartouches flanked by arabesques imitating marble insets

[cda 2015]

  • examined by Gunnar Heydenreich

03. 2015Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

Tools/Material:

- dry drawing material (dark chalk)

Type/Ductus:

- very detailed and freehand underdrawing over a grid

- fine lines

Function:

- relatively binding for the final painted version; lines delineate the main contours and define essential details and facial features; no representation of volume with hatching-strokes

Deviations:

- minor alterations made during the painting process to clearly define form

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Younger

Comments:

- transferred from a pre-existing design with the assistance of a grid

[Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2015]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

Condition Reports

Date1825

1825 exstensively overpainted [Specht 1998, 288]

Conservation History

1949 - 1952Technologische Untersuchung / Naturwissenschaftliche Materialanalyse

Rahmung

- Originaler Rahmen mit einer Tiefe von 23 cm

- Die linke und rechte Rahmenleiste ist mit jeweils acht geschnitzten Wappen versehen, die obere und untere Leiste ist mit gemalten Kartuschen und diese säumendes Rankenwerk versehen, die Marmoreinsätze imitieren.

[cda 2015]

attached to a new wooden support

[Schade 1974, 390]

Conservation treatment and transferred to a plywood board by Otto Stollberg and Georg Brinz [Findeisen 2001, 185]

  • conservation treatment by Institut für Denkmalpflege, Halle

Date1853

1853 'renewed by the court painter Beck " [Wiemann 1907, 70]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_KBZ_NONE-KBZ001/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Epitah painting for Wolfgang of Anhalt: Baptism of Christ', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_KBZ_NONE-KBZ001/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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