Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel]

Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel]

Titles

Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel]

[Schulze 2004, 104]

The crucifixion with the allegory of salvation [central panel]

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 158, No. 434]

Painting on lime wood

Medium

Painting on lime wood

[Görres 2007, 22]

The composition of the central panel of the Weimar altarpiece is dominated by the representation of Christ on the cross. The crucifixion is positioned in the centre foreground and divides the image in two halves. The first pictorial plane is occupied by four figures depicted in a meadow full

The composition of the central panel of the Weimar altarpiece is dominated by the representation of Christ on the cross. The crucifixion is positioned in the centre foreground and divides the image in two halves. The first pictorial plane is occupied by four figures depicted in a meadow full of flowers. On the left Christ is shown triumphing over Death and the Devil who lie on the ground under his feet. As a sign of his victory and resurrection he wears the red robe and its violent motion directs the viewer's gaze back to the cross. He thrusts an almost transparent victory banner into the Devil's throat while looking at the viewer. Behind the figure of the resurrected Christ the burial cave is visible in a rocky outcrop in front of which is an open marble sarcophagus. The red of Christ's robe is repeated in the group of figures to the right of the cross. The group consists of St John the Baptist, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Martin Luther positioned one in front of the other. Luther stands in the foreground and his imposing stature is further emphasized by his firm stance and his broad gown. The black robe highlights the light pages of the open book, which Luther points to with the finger of his right hand and holds up for the viewer to read. Half concealed by Luther, Cranach stands clothed in a fur-trimmed black robe, wearing the same beige leggings as Luther. His hands are folded and his hair and beard betray his advanced years. His head has been hit by the blood streaming from the wound in Christ¿s side. The artist stares out of the painting. Behind Cranach St John the Baptist is depicted in a fur robe and red cloak. Facing right he points with the finger of his right hand at the crucified Christ and with two fingers from his left hand he points to the sacrificial lamb, standing directly in front of the cross and once again directs the viewer¿s gaze to the cross in the centre. The lamb raises his head as if he were responding to St John¿s gesture. Like the resurrected Christ he also holds a transparent victory banner. The inscription: `ECCE AGNVS DEI QVI TOLLIT PECCATA MVNDI¿ is visible against the background of the red robe of Christ in triumph. Both banners are arranged almost parallel to each other; the lamb prevents the banner from falling over with his raised front leg. The foot of the cross is hidden by the Agnus Dei.

The cross consists of two roughly hewn wooden beams attached together to form a Greek T, and it extends to the top edge of the painting, where it is crowned with the letters INRI¿. Christ is attached to the cross with three nails. His head is inclined to the left and his eyes appear closed, blood beneath the crown of thorns runs down his neck. Streams of blood also run from the wounds in his hands along his thin, elongated arms and occasionally run together with the blood from the wound in his side to continue down to the wounds in his feet and drip onto the wood of the cross. The date 1555¿ over the artist¿s insignia is located on the cross below Christ¿s feet. Both ends of the loincloth flutter to either side in a very artificial manner and the white of the cloth both emphasizes the stream of blood and serves as a backdrop for it. The blood creates a wide arch as if drawn with a compass from the wound on Christ¿s side to pour down on Cranach¿s head.

Two scenes are visible in the middle-distance at about the height of the feet of the crucified Christ and are separated by the cross. On the left a bearded man clothed in a loincloth flees gesticulating from the skeletons and the Devil, who are armed with spits and clubs, and appear here for the second time. They drive him towards the purgatorial fire, which blazes up behind the rocky outcrop with Christ¿s burial cave. The path followed by the hunt is circular and if followed with the eye leads to a group of men to the right of the cross, who appear to be deep in conversation. Beneath them Moses is depicted pointing with the finger of his right hand on the stone tablet, which he holds in his left hand. Beside him an old man in an ermine trimmed coat raises two fingers from his right hand. Both scenes have a wooded backdrop that merges with the background of the painting.

The Israelites raising the bronze serpent are depicted in a campsite on the right side above the heads of Cranach and Luther. Moses, who is identified by his clothing, points with a rod at the serpent on the T-shaped cross. Some of the men, women and children follow his advice and save themselves by looking at the serpent with hands raised in prayer or by falling on their knees others have already been bitten. On the right edge of the painting a serpent winds itself around the neck of an Israelite, while another slithers towards him. The gestures of this figure are similar to those of the figure fleeing from Death and the Devil in the middle distance.

In a clearing of the above mentioned wood, which extends as far as the middle ground a further biblical scene is depicted on the horizon: the Annunciation to the Shepherds. Like the Israelites the shepherds look up, raise their hands or fall on their knees in the presence of the angel, who descends from heaven in a cloud, carrying a banner. The clouds in the sky, occupying a third of the painting, are illuminated by the sun, which appears to rise behind the burial cave of the risen Christ.

The essentially subdued, earthy tonality of the central panel of the Weimar altarpiece is repeatedly interrupted and contrasted by the use of red paint. This is particularly obvious in the group on the left in the foreground. The rocky outcrop, the sarcophagus and the figures of Death and the Devil share the same brownish yellow tone, which emphasizes the relatively pale flesh paint in the figure of Christ and above all his bright red robe. This bright red serves as a reference point for the viewer as it is repeated in each scene of the painting, relating them through colour. Apart from the red blood of Christ the colour is used for the cloaks of both Christ and St John, Luther¿s collar, the Devil¿s foot in the middle ground, the coat and the leggings in the group of prophets, the clothing of the Israelites and the shepherds as well as the angels¿ robes.

Repeated and varied motifs are frequently employed as a compositional element to establish close relationships between different pictorial planes: the motif of Death and the Devil links the left side of the foreground with the middle ground. Parallel to this the right side of the foreground and the middle ground are linked by the finger pointing to the Word or Christ. A relationship is established between Christ in the foreground and the naked figure of the man being hunted through the loincloth worn by both figures. The middle ground and the background are linked by the double appearance of Moses and the repetition of the gestures of the figures being chased by the Israelites fleeing from the serpents. Furthermore the scenes of the Israelites and the shepherds of the annunciation in the background are related by the repeated pose and the same T-shaped cross, which also links the background with the foreground.

[Görres 2006, 7-10]

Attributions
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attributions

Lucas Cranach the Younger

[Böhlitz 2007, 294]
[Schulze 2004, 104]
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1978, No. 434]
'Cranachs Zusammenarbeit mit seinem Sohn in untrennbarer Werkgemeinschaft [...]' [Thulin 1951, 54] [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937, no. 137]

Lucas Cranach the Elder

"Cranachs Zusammenarbeit mit seinem Sohn in untrennbarer Werkgemeinschaft [...]" [Thulin 1951, 54]

Production date
1555

Production date

1555

[dated]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 370 x 309 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 370 x 309 cm

  • [Görres 2007, 22]

  • Dimensions of support: 360 x 311 cm

  • [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 158-159, No. 434]

Signature / Dating
Artist's insignia at the bottom of the shaft of the cross: winged serpent (with dropped wings) and dated '1555'

Signature / Dating

  • Artist's insignia at the bottom of the shaft of the cross: winged serpent (with dropped wings) and dated '1555'

Inscriptions and Labels
- in the open book held by Luther: 'Das Blut Jesu Ch isti reinigt unns allen sunnden. im ten Epis Joan am i ca: Darumb …

Inscriptions and Labels

Inscriptions, Badges:

  • - in the open book held by Luther: 'Das Blut Jesu Ch
  • [r]isti reinigt unns
  • [von] allen sunnden.
  • im [ers]ten Epis Joan
  • am i ca:
  • Darumb so last uns
  • hinzu tretten mit
  • Freidigkeit zu dem Gna
  • denstul, auff das wir
  • Barmherzigkeit empfan
  • [g]en
  • inn
  • en und gnade finden
  • auf die Zeit wann uns
  • hülff node sein wirde.
  • zum Ebreern am 5. Cap.
  • Gleich wie Moses in der
  • wusten ein Schlang erho
  • het hat also mus auch
  • des Menschen Son erho
  • het werden auf das alle
  • die an [...]'
  • in addition each of the two open pages is numbered in the right corner:
  • 'CLI' (left page) and 'CLII' (right page).
  • - on the victory banner of the Lamb of God:
  • 'ECCE AGNVS DEI QVI TOLLIT
  • PECCATA MVNDI'
  • - at the top of the cross:
  • 'INRI'
Owner
Ev.-Luth. Kirchgemeinde St. Peter und Paul, Weimar
Repository
Ev.-Luth. Kirchgemeinde St. Peter und Paul, Weimar
Location
Weimar
CDA ID
DE_PPW_NONE-PPW001A
FR (1978) Nr.
FR434
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_PPW_NONE-PPW001A/

Exhibitions

Berlin 1937, no. 137

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Teget-Welz 2018 213, 215 Fig. 1
AuthorManuel Teget-Welz
TitleVon Gotha in die Ganze Welt. Die Fürstenserie des Monogrammisten IS
Publicationin Klaus Weschenfelder, ed., Cranach in Coburg. Gemälde von Lucas Cranach d.Ä., Lucas Cranach d.J., der Werkstatt und des Umkreises in den Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication2018
Pages209-228
Görres 2017 B 50 Fig. 6
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleDer Mönch und der Maler - Luther und Cranach als Vermittler eines neuen Glaubens
Publicationin Gunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres, Beat Wismer, eds., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Meister - Marke - Moderne. [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2017
Pages44-51
Heydenreich 2017 A 75
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
TitleCranach? Fragen der Zuschreibung im Lichte kunsttechnologischer Untersuchungen
Publicationin Gunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres, Beat Wismer, eds., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Meister - Marke - Moderne. [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2017
Pages72-81
Price 2017 25, 26 Fig. 11
AuthorDavid H. Price
TitleLucas Cranach e la Riforma
Publicationin Francesca de Luca, Giovanni Maria Fara, eds., I volti della Riforma. Lutero e Cranach nelle collezioni medicee , Exhib. Cat. Florence, 2017
Place of PublicationFlorence, Milan
Year of Publication2017
Pages12-27
Bonnet, Görres 2015 74-77 26 p. 74, 75
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet, Daniel Görres
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä. - Maler der Deutschen Renaissance
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 2015 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 25, 36, 38, 40-442, 46, 53, 54, 62, 63, 74, 88, 111
EditorWolfgang Holler, Karin Kolb
TitleCranach in Weimar, [Weimar, Schiller-Museum, 3 April - 14 June 2015]
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication2015
Görres 2015 A 245-247, 253, 254 Figs. 1, 2
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleVon Fürsten und Bürgern, Theologen und Malern. Repräsentation und Memoria in Bildprogrammen Cranachs des Jüngeren
Publicationin, Elke A. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Link https://lucascranach.org/application/files/4615/6232/3882/Goerres_2015_-_Fuersten_und_Buerger.pdf
Pages141-151
Görres 2015 B
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleCranach, Luther und die Ernestiner. Der Epitaphaltar der Stadtkirche St. Peter und Paul in Weimar
Publicationin, Franziska Bomski, Hellmut Th. Seemann, Thorsten Valk, eds., Bild und Bekenntnis. Die Cranach-Werkstatt in Weimar
Place of PublicationGöttingen
Year of Publication2015
Pages37-53
Görres et al. 2015 245-247, 253, 254 Figs. 1, 2
AuthorDaniel Görres, Gunnar Heydenreich, Jana Herrschaft
TitleDie Werkstatt Cranachs des Jüngeren.
Publicationin R. Enke, K. Schneider, J. Strehle, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere. Entdeckung eines Meisters
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Link https://lucascranach.org/application/files/7116/2097/3065/Heydenreich_Goerres_Herrschaft_2015_Die_Werkstatt_Cranachs_des_Juengeren.pdf
Pages64-77
Heydenreich et al. 2015
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich, Ingo Sandner, Helen Smith-Contini
TitleDer Streit um die Autorenschaft. Das Weimarer Cranach-Retabel im Lichte technologischer Untersuchungen
Publicationin, Franziska Bomski, Hellmut Th. Seemann, Thorsten Valk, eds., Bild und Bekenntnis. Die Cranach-Werkstatt in Weimar
SeriesJahrbuch der Klassik Stiftung Weimar, Weimar
Place of PublicationWeimar
Year of Publication2015
Pages193-204
Lücke 2015 36, Fn. 39-41
AuthorMonika Lücke
TitleLucas Cranach der Jüngere als Unternehmer
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages30-41
Noble 2015 295
AuthorBonnie Noble
TitleThe Woman of Babylon. Seduction Reformation-Style
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages290-297
Sandner, Heydenreich, Smith-Contini 2015 138, Fn. 76
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich, Ingo Sandner, Helen Smith-Contini
TitleVeränderungen beim Unterzeichnen in Cranachs Werkstatt und die Arbeitsweise von Sohn Lucas
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Link https://lucascranach.org/application/files/4615/6232/3882/Goerres_2015_-_Fuersten_und_Buerger.pdf
Pages128-141
Schuchardt 2015 A 17
AuthorGünter Schuchardt
TitleCranach und Luther-Aspekte einer Partnerschaft
Publicationin Günther Schuchardt, ed., Cranach, Luther und die Bildnisse, Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 2015
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication2015
Pages10-23
Schuchardt 2015 B 46
AuthorGünter Schuchardt
TitlePrivileg und Monopol - Die Lutherporträts der Cranach-Werkstatt
Publicationin Günther Schuchardt, ed., Cranach, Luther und die Bildnisse, Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 2015
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication2015
Pages24-52
Sitt, Monsees 2015 316
AuthorMartina Sitt, Désirée Monsees
TitleDer einsame Christus am Kreuz - ein Bildtypus von Cranach dem Jüngeren in der pro-reformatorischen, bildlichen Argumentation
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages308-317
Trümper 2015 26-28 Fig. 11
AuthorTimo Trümper
TitleInszenierungsstrategien der Ernestiner
Publicationin Julia Carrasco, Justus Lange, Benjamin D. Spira, Timo Trümper, Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha and Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, eds., Bild und Botschaft. Cranach im Dienst von Hof und Reformation, [Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel]
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Year of Publication2015
Pages17-28
Waterman 2015 283, 285, Fn. 25
AuthorJoshua P. Waterman
TitleThe Artistic Emergence of Lucas Cranach the Younger
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages280-289
Werner 2015 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
AuthorElke Anna Werner
TitleLucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder. Zur Einführung
Publicationin Elke E. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich, eds., Lucas Cranach der Jüngere und die Reformation der Bilder
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages8-16
Bonnet, Kopp-Schmidt, Görres 2010 186-189 26
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet, Gabriele Kopp-Schmidt, Daniel Görres
TitleDie Malerei der deutschen Renaissance
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2010
Noble 2009
AuthorBonnie Noble
TitleLucas Cranach the Elder. Art and Devotion of the German Reformation
Place of PublicationLanham
Year of Publication2009
Böhlitz 2007
AuthorMichael Böhlitz
TitleDer Weimarer Cranachaltar im Kontext von Religion und Geschichte: ein ernestinisches Denkmal der Reformation
Publicationin Andreas Tacke, ed., Lucas Cranach 1553/2003. Wittenberger Tagungsbeiträge anlässlich des 450. Todesjahres Lucas Cranach des Älteren
SeriesSchriften der Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten in Sachsen-Anhalt
Volume7
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication2007
Pages277-298
Brinkmann 2007 26 7
AuthorBodo Brinkmann
TitleDas Lächeln der Madonna. Lucas Cranach und die Folgen
Publicationin Bodo Brinkmann, ed., Cranach der Ältere, Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Pages17-27
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007 380 p. 380
EditorBodo Brinkmann
TitleCranach der Ältere, [Frankfurt, Städel Museum, 23 Nov 2007 - 17 Feb 2008]
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Görres 2007
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleDer Cranach-Altar der Stadtkirche St. Peter und Paul in Weimar und sein Betrachter. Eine Studie zum Medium "Bild" im Kontext der Reformation
Publicationin Deubner-Preis 2006. Sonderdruck aus den Kunsthistorischen Arbeitsblättern (KAb)
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2007
Pages19-34
Görres 2006
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleDer Cranach-Altar der Stadtkirche St. Peter und Paul in Weimar und die Mediation des Glaubens
Place of PublicationBonn
Year of Publication2006
Böhlitz 2005 33
AuthorMichael Böhlitz
TitleAltargemälde von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren, Lucas Cranach dem Jüngeren und ihren Schülern im Chemnitzer Raum
Publicationin Harald Marx, Ingrid Mössinger, Karin Kolb, ed., Cranach. Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Pages18-43
CDA.Bloh 2005 177
AuthorJutta Charlotte von Bloh
TitleKleidung und Waffen in den Fürstenbildnissen der Cranachs
Publicationin Harald Marx, Ingrid Mössinger, Karin Kolb, eds., Cranach, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Pages174-181
Exhib. Cat. Prague 2005 146 (English version 54) under no. 43
EditorObrazárna Pražského hradu, Kaliopi Chamonikola
TitlePod znamením okrídleného hada. Lucas Cranach a ceské zeme. Under the winged Serpent. Lucas Cranach and the Czech Land
Place of PublicationPrague
Year of Publication2005
Schulze 2004 104-111
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
Noble 1999 138-162
AuthorBonnie Noble
TitleThe Lutheran Paintings of the Cranach Workshop, 1529-1555
Place of PublicationAnn Arbor
Year of Publication1999
Schuchardt 1998 B 13 Fig. 1.5
AuthorGünter Schuchardt
Title"Ich hätt euch viel zu schreiben, hab aber viel zu schaffen." Lucas Cranach d. Ä. und seine Wittenberger Werkstatt.
Publicationin Ingo Sandner, Wartburg-Stiftung Eisenach and Fachhochschule Köln, eds., Unsichtbare Meisterzeichnungen auf dem Malgrund. Cranach und seine Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Eisenach
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication1998
Pages11-18
Büttner 1994
AuthorFrank Büttner
Title"Argumentatio" in Bildern der Reformationszeit. Ein Beitrag zur Bestimmung argumentativer Strukturen in der Bildkunst
JournalZeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte
Issue57
Year of Publication1994
Link http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/artdok/volltexte/2010/938
Pages23-44
Sandner, Ritschel 1994 189
AuthorIngo Sandner, Iris Ritschel
TitleArbeitsweise und Maltechnik Lucas Cranachs und seiner Werkstatt
Publicationin Claus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff, eds., Lucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken, Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Pages186-193
Schade, Schuttwolf 1994 21
AuthorWerner Schade, Allmuth Schuttwolf
TitleMalerei und Plastik
Publicationin Allmuth Schuttwolf, ed., Gotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Gotha
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Pages15-94
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Schade 1968 B 66-67
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
Thulin 1955
AuthorOskar Thulin
TitleCranach-Altäre der Reformation
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1955
Jursch 1953 158 434
AuthorHanna Jursch
TitleDer Cranach-Altar in der Stadtkirche zu Weimar
JournalWissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Year of Publication1953
Pages69-80
Justi 1951
AuthorLudwig Justi
TitleDas große dreiteilige Gemälde aus der Herderkirche zu Weimar
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1951
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937 49, 50 137 Pl. 104
EditorStaatliche Museen, Berlin
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä. und Lucas Cranach d. J. Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1937
Meyer 1813
AuthorHeinrich Meyer
TitleÜber die Altar-Gemälde von Lucas Cranach in der Stadt-Kirche zu Weimar
Place of PublicationWeimar
Year of Publication1813

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

Abstract of Böhlitz 2007:

Michael Böhlitz examines the context of the assembly of the retable in the Church of St Peter and Paul with reference to documents and papers from the archives recording Church Visitors to Weimar in the years 1554 and 1555. He demonstrates that the recommendations by the Visitors to celebrate the service facing the community necessitated a freestanding altar and the installation of the retable on a separate pedestal - the situation we now find in Weimar. The inferred genesis of the work between mid 1554 and the end of 1555 suggests that Lucas Cranach the Younger and not his father designed and painted it.

According to Böhlitz the peculiarities in the iconographical program as well as the content and form of the inscription on the predella (now lost) can be explained by the function of the retable as an epitaph altar. Overlooking the double tomb of Johann Friedrich I. and his wife Sibylle von Cleve, which is located directly in front of the altar, it makes reference to the Ernestine burial place in the Schlosskirche of Wittenberg. The tomb and the retable are an expression of the ‚entitlement policy‘ ("Anspruchspolitik") (p. 295) of the new Duke Johann Friedrich II, who sought compensation for the loss of electorship and territory after the Schmalkaldic war, and the addition of the portraits of Cranach the Elder and Martin Luther can also be evaluated within this context.

[Görres, cda 2012]

Abstract of Görres 2007:

On the basis of considerations about the use of imagery by the Lutheran Church the commentary demonstrates how the relationship between the image and the viewer was structured in the case of the Weimar Retable by identifying and interrelating three levels of reception. The depictions of Martin Luther and Lucas Cranach the Elder can be contextualized on each of these levels and thereby show the intrinsic value of each level. Regarding the theological level the iconographical program of the central panel postulates a chain of prophecy extending from Luther to the present age of the contemporary viewer and through Luther’s close friend Cranach it presents a witness and prototype for the laity. Politically seen the Weimar Altar can be read with recourse to Luther as a disassociation from the teachings of the University of Wittenberg, which had since been lost to the Albertines. The Ernestines as long-standing employers of Luther lay claim to representing the absolute doctrine. Cranach, who had served them for decades, also appears as a herald of better times. Finally on the level of medial reception the commentary examines the intrinsic pictorial strategy with which the program of the retable assures a reception in accord with the Lutheran doctrine. Luther, likewise Cranach appear here as mediators of the Faith.

[Görres, cda 2012]

  • Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel], 1555

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Technical studies

07.10.2012Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

Tools/Materials:

- dry medium, dark chalk

Type/Ductus:

- freehand underdrawing

- combination of long contour lines and relatively short curved lines for inner forms/facial features; often repeating lines to fix the final form, some hatching

Function:

- relatively binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours, indicate folds in the drapery and define details and facial features

Deviations:

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

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Younger

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]

  • Bearbeiter/in Gunnar Heydenreich

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_PPW_NONE-PPW001A/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Epitaph-altarpiece of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous in the Weimar parish church St. Peter and Paul [central panel]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_PPW_NONE-PPW001A/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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