The Judgement of Paris

The Judgement of Paris

Titles

The Judgement of Paris

[cda 2011]

Alfred der Grosse und Albonaks Töchter

'A[lter]. K[atalog]. Alfred der Grosse und Albonaks Töchter',[Aldenhoven 1890, No. 337, Fn. p. 125][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Die Sage von Alfred dem Grossen und Albonak's Töchtern

'Schule Cranach's. Die Sage von Alfred dem Grossen und Albonak's Töchtern', [Schneider 1868, Abt. V, No. 30][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

König Alfred v. England u. sein Vasall

'Cranach-Schule: König Alfred v. England u. sein Vasall'
[Parthey 1863 I, 699, No. 15][1]
[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

König Alfred...

[Schuchardt 1851-71, II, 65][1]
[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Das Urtheil des Paris

'Cranachs Manier (?). Das Urtheil des Paris',[ Verzeichnis 1826, fol. 69, No. 137][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Das Judicum Paridis

'Das Judicum Paridis, worbey sich oben in den Wolcken der Cupido mit gespanten Bogen prasentirt, von Lucas Cranachen auf Holz gemahlet'
[Inventar 1721, fol. 70, No. 40][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Judicium Paridis

'Judicium Paridis. Lux(Lucas) Mahler', [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 1][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Gemählte Auß dem Ovidio

'Gemählte Auß dem Ovidio, darauß Drey Weibsbilder od. Göttinnen Vndt 2 geharnischte Männer sehen', [Inventar 1644, fol. 30][1] [1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

Medium

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Beech wood

[Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, 630, No. 538]

Although the tale as illustrated here initially allows the depicted subject to be grasped, the interpretation chosen by Cranach draws on the literary bedrock of the 'Historia destructionis Troiae', which was first drafted at the end of the 13th century. Differently from classical tradition it explains in a sequel of

Although the tale as illustrated here initially allows the depicted subject to be grasped, the interpretation chosen by Cranach draws on the literary bedrock of the 'Historia destructionis Troiae', which was first drafted at the end of the 13th century. Differently from classical tradition it explains in a sequel of recurring stories how the King's son, returning tired from the hunt and having tethered his steed to a tree reclined near a spring. Overcome by sleep Paris dreams that Hermes appears to him with three goddesses and asks for his judgement. As he is not able to decide Paris asks the goddesses to undress in front of him, whereupon he makes a decission with grave consequences.[1]

[1] The information that the goddesses undressed before the judgement was made was already recorded by Lukian. However, the fact that Lukian does not describe Paris as a knight or mention his steed tethered to a tree is contrary to Bierende's assumption that Cranach drew on this classical source, which since 1500 was much discussed in Humanist circles. See Bierende 2002, 212

[Benjamin D. Spira, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 222]

Attributions
Lucas Cranach the Younger
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attributions

Lucas Cranach the Younger

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 66]
[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]
'The head of Mercury, which varies slightly from other versions of this theme, is similar to the style of Lucas Cranach the Younger.'
[Strieder 1975, 171][1]
[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Lucas Cranach the Elder

'Lukas Cranach d. Ä' [Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, 630, No. 538][1]
'als Werk von L. Cranach d. Ä.' [Schade 1974, Fig. 182][1]
'spätes Werk L. Cranach d. Ä. selbst' (Zitat?) [Woermann, Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899][1]
'Das Judicum Paridis, worbey sich oben in den Wolcken der Cupido mit gespanten Bogen prasentirt, von Lucas Cranachen auf Holz gemahlet' [Inventar 1721, fol. 70, No. 40][1]
'Judicium Paridis. Lux[Lucas] Mahler', [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 1][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Circle of Lucas Cranach the Elder

'Schule Cranach's. Die Sage von Alfred dem Grossen und Albonak's Töchtern'
[Schneider 1868, Abt. V, No. 30][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

(Follower of Lucas Cranach the Elder)

'Cranachs Manier (?). Das Urtheil des Paris'
[Verzeichnis 1826, fol. 69, No. 137][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Production dates
about 1540 - 1546
after 1537

Production dates

about 1540 - 1546

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 2015, No. 66] [Schade, Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

after 1537

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1978, 151, No. 409]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 121.5 x 82.5 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 121.5 x 82.5 cm

  • [Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

  • Dimensions including frame: 143.5 x 106 cm

Signature / Dating
Artist's insignia on the large stone bottom left: winged serpent with dropped wings, facing right; in dark brown paint

Signature / Dating

  • Artist's insignia on the large stone bottom left: winged serpent with dropped wings, facing right; in dark brown paint

Owner
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
Repository
Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
Location
Gotha
CDA ID
DE_SMG_SG672
FR (1978) Nr.
FR409
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG672/

Provenance

  • 1644 in the 'Gotha Kaufhaus' (Residence of Duke Ernst the I.)[Inventar 1644, fol. 30][1]
  • recorded in the Kunstkammer in Gotha Castle since 1656 [Inventar 1656, fol. 1, No. 1][1]

[1][Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

Exhibitions

Gotha 1994
Gotha 2001, No. 1.23
Chemnitz, Dresden 2005, 78
Madrid 2007, Cat. 65
Gotha/Kassel 2015, No. 66

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure / Plate
Dohe 2015 48
AuthorSebastian Dohe
TitleAemulatio, Anspruch und Austausch. Cranachs Kunst im höfischen Dienst
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
Pages43-50
Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015 222, 223 66 Pl. p. 223
EditorJulia Carrasco, Justus Lange, Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha, Benjamin D. Spira, Timo Trümper
TitleBild und Botschaft. Cranach im Dienst von Hof und Reformation, [Gotha, Herzogliches Museum; Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe]
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Year of Publication2015
Sandner, Heydenreich, Smith-Contini 2015 136, Fn. 56
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich, Ingo Sandner, Helen Smith-Contini
TitleVeränderungen beim Unterzeichnen in Cranachs Werkstatt und die Arbeitsweise von Sohn Lucas
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/5215/6337/7366/Heydenreich_Sandner_Smith-Contini_2015_-_Unterzeichnung.pdf
Pages128-141
Werner 2015 B 166-168 4
AuthorElke Anna Werner
TitleFehlurteile. Das Urteil des Paris von Lucas Cranach d. Ä. (ehem. im Gotischen Haus Wörlitz) und seine Forschungsgeschichte
Publicationin Kulturstiftung Dessau-Wörlitz, ed., Cranach im Gotischen Haus in Wörlitz, Exhib. Cat. Wörlitz
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages163-170
Widmaier-Picasso 2005 78 Pl. 29
AuthorDiana Widmaier-Picasso
TitlePicasso und Cranach der Ältere. Kunst als Lebenskraft
Publicationin Harald Marx, Ingrid Mössinger, Karin Kolb, ed., Cranach. Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Pages64-77
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994 31
EditorStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
TitleGotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Schade, Schuttwolf 1994 31, 32, 45 1.13 Figs. p. 31, 32, Pl. p. 45
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
Schuttwolf 1994 8 1.13
AuthorAllmuth Schuttwolf
EditorStiftung Schloss Friedenstein, Gotha
TitleGeschichte der Gothaer Kunstsammlungen
Publicationin Allmuth Schuttwolf, ed., Gotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Gotha
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Pages7-12
Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1986 cover ill. reverse
EditorSchlossmuseum Gotha
TitleDas Urteil des Paris in der bildenden Kunst der DDR
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1986
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1983 E11 Fig. p. 278
EditorAltes Museum, Berlin
TitleKunst der Reformationzeit
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1983
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 153 No. 409 Fig. 409
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Strieder 1975 171
AuthorPeter Strieder
TitleLucas-Cranach-Ausstellung in Basel (Ausst. Besprechung)
JournalKunstchronik
IssueJg. 28, Heft 5
Year of Publication1975
Pages165-171
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974/1976 630 No. 538
AuthorDieter Koepplin, Tilman Falk
TitleLukas Cranach. Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationBasel, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1974
Link http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-diglit-104522
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 B No. 69 Plate 63
EditorSchlossmuseum Weimar
TitleLucas Cranach 1472-1553. Ein großer Maler in bewegter Zeit
Place of PublicationWeimar
Year of Publication1972
Lilienfein 1942 Fig. 108
AuthorHeinrich Lilienfein
TitleLukas Cranach und seine Zeit
Place of PublicationBielefeld
Year of Publication1942
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932 90 329
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1932
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/friedlaender1932
Heyck 1927 81, 95, 112f. Fig. 93
AuthorEduard Heyck
TitleLucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBielefeld
Year of Publication1927
Flechsig 1900 A No. 95
AuthorEduard Flechsig
TitleCranachstudien
Volume1
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication1900
Link page/n5/mode/2up
Exhib. Cat. Dresden 1899
EditorKarl Woermann
TitleDeutsche Kunstausstellung Dresden 1899. Abteilung Cranach-Ausstellung. Wissenschaftliches Verzeichnis der ausgestellten Werke
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1899
Link http://resolver.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/SBB00002A2400000000
Lippmann 1895 D
EditorFriedrich Lippmann
TitleLucas Cranach. Sammlung von Nachbildungen seiner vorzüglichsten Holzschnitte und seiner Stiche
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1895
Parthey 1863-1864 699 (Bd. 1) No. 15
AuthorGustav Parthey
TitleDeutscher Bildersaal. Verzeichnis der in Deutschland vorhandenen Oelbilder verstorbener Maler aller Schulen
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1864
Schuchardt 1851 C 65
AuthorChristian Schuchardt
TitleLucas Cranach des Aeltern Leben und Werke. Zweiter Theil
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication1851
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schuchardt1851bd2
Böhler, Steinmeyer 11
EditorJulius Wilhelm Böhler, Fritz Steinmeyer
Title[Auction Catalogue]
Place of PublicationLucerne, New York, Berlin

Research History / Discussion

'The heads of the figures in works attributed to Lucas Cranach the Younger (Nürnberg: 'The Conversion of St Paul' and Braunschweig: 'John the baptist preaching' both from 1549...) are different and the style is more decorative and superficial. Cranach the Elder did not always have to repeat himself. The quality is comparable with that of the 'Fountain of Youth' from 1546 (FR 327; Schade 1974, fig. 182, attributed to L. Cranach the Elder?). Cranach borrowed the subject of cupid descending from the clouds (he mistakenly points his arrow at the Goddess?) from a woodcut by A. Altdorfers (No. 539).'

[Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974-1976, II., 630, No. 538]

'No change in style after the death of Hans Cranach'

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 409]

Cranach the Elder had alreaady repeatedly depicted the subject of 'The Judgement of Paris' in the initial years of his activity as court painter. One of the first woodcuts of this subject is dated to 1508, while the earliest panel painting was created about 1513. Subsequently the motif was employed on a regular basis until the mid-40s. The present painting attributed to Lucas Cranach the Younger by Schade and Schuttwolf can be classified as one of the last versions.

Although the basis of the subject is rooted in the classical tale, which expounds that mankind despite all struggles cannot escape the fate predetermined by the Gods, the works from the Cranach workshop point in another direction. Koepplin/Falk suggest that the humanist interpretation viewed the decission made by Paris as an allegory for the choice between 'vita templativa, vita activa' and 'vita voluptaria'. As such each goddess can be interpreted as one of the lifestyles mentioned. Taken as a negative exemplum Paris' error of judgement is juxtaposed against the wise choice made by Hercules, who chose the arduous path to virtue instead of the easy path to sensual pleasure.

At the same time the image may warn the viewer against the hazards of his all to frequent appetite for pleasure, making rash decissions influenced by external circumstances or befalling the temptation of a woman. The self-depreciating realizatioin of the male viewer who when observing the nude goddesses felt his own powers of judgement lead astray by the image of female beauty might expain the allure of the subjet, which was repeatedly depicted by the Cranach workshop.

[Benjamin D. Spira, in Exhib. Cat. Gotha, Kassel 2015, 222]

  • The Judgement of Paris, about 1540 - 1546

Images

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Technical studies

04. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

Tools/Materials:

- dry drawing material, in combination with a brush?

Type/Ductus:

- delicate, fine lines

Function:

- binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details; representation of volume with blended chalk lines?

Deviations:

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

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Younger?

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

1995Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • X-radiography
  • created by Asmus Steuerlein
  • created by Angela Möller

1995Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • photographed by Asmus Steuerlein
  • photographed by Angela Möller

1966Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • X-radiography

'Lead white paint detected shows quite a bit of detail. For the flesh paint lead white was employed only in the highlights. The hair was painted with a very fine paintbrush. The craquellee in the flesh paint is netted and not really dictated by the wood grain. There are no large damages. The panel consists of more than one plank and the joins are strengthened with dovetail inserts and strips of canvas. There is a vertical split in one of the joins. A horizontal split beside St Helen's face was probably caused by a knot in the wood. The canvas is only visible where an x-ray absorbant material was applied. The canvas was probably attached to the reverse. The wood grain is clearly visible on the righthand side (Lime ).'

Martin Meier-Siem, Hamburg 1966,

[Exhib. Cat. Gotha 1994, 31]

  • examined by Martin Meier-Siems
  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph

Conservation History

Date2000 - 2003

  • conservation
  • conservation
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Summary of treament report (see pdf for complete version in German):

  • the panel is warped

  • yellowed varnish

  • old, discoloured retouches

  • two long splits

  • some paint loss and abrasion

Summary of treament report (see pdf for complete version in German):

  • consolidation of the paint layers

  • the open splits were reglued and reinforced from the reverse

  • mechanical removal of the varnish and the discoloured retouches (with the occasional use of terpentine)

  • areas around losses were cleaned and the losses filled and toned

  • retouching

  • isolating varnish and final varnish (Dammar)

  • conservation treatment by Angela Möller
  • photographed by Lutz Ebhardt

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'The Judgement of Paris', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG672/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'The Judgement of Paris', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SMG_SG672/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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