The Judgment of Kambyses
(Elector Joachim II's exemplum panels)

The Judgment of Kambyses (Elector Joachim II's exemplum panels)

Title

The Judgment of Kambyses (Elector Joachim II's exemplum panels)

[cda 2012]

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

Medium

Painting on limewood (Tilia sp.)

[Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, Berlin - Brandenburg, revised 2011]
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 203, no. III.23]

The greek historiographer Herodotus (Histories V, 25) passed down the story of the judgement of the Persian King Kambyses to us. He convicted the judge Sisamnes of corruption and had him flayed alive as punishment. He then stretched the skin over the judge's chair and ordered Sisamnes' son Otanes to

The greek historiographer Herodotus (Histories V, 25) passed down the story of the judgement of the Persian King Kambyses to us. He convicted the judge Sisamnes of corruption and had him flayed alive as punishment. He then stretched the skin over the judge's chair and ordered Sisamnes' son Otanes to take his place on the chair as the new judge.

By employing simultaneous depiction in this painting Cranach linked the flaying of Sisamnes, which is illustrated in the background, with a scene in the foreground showing the judge Otanes sitting on his throne covered by a baldachin made of his father's hide. The judge alone wears a turban, distinguishing him as an historical figure, whereas the other men and women present in the courtroom are in contemporary dress. A man gestures angrily and attempts to justify himself in front of the judge who points a critical finger. Two bearded elderly men each explain the judgement of the court to a group of women.

[see Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 203, no. III.23]

Attribution
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attribution

Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, Berlin - Brandenburg, revised 2011]
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 203, no. III.23]
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937, no. 114]

Production date
about 1540 - 1545

Production date

about 1540 - 1545

[Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, Berlin - Brandenburg, revised 2011]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 209.4 x 107.1 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 209.4 x 107.1 cm

  • [Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, Berlin - Brandenburg, revised 2011]

Signature / Dating
none
Owner
Stiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg
Repository
Grunewald hunting lodge
Location
Grunewald
CDA ID
DE_SPSG_GKI1188
FR (1978) Nr.
FR-none
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_SPSG_GKI1188/

Provenance

  • between 1811 and 1816 transferred by the municipal court (Kammergericht) to the Berliner Schloss (Berlin Palace)
    [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 200-201, nos. III.20-23]

Exhibitions

Berlin 1937, no. 114
Berlin 2009/10, no. III.23

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure / Plate
Wohlberedt 2015 194, 203
AuthorAstrid Wohlberedt
TitleDie Gerechtigkeit des Kaisers Trajan aus der Cranach-Werkstatt, ehemals im Gotischen Haus in Wörlitz
Publicationin Kulturstiftung Dessau-Wörlitz, ed., Cranach im Gotischen Haus in Wörlitz, Exhib. Cat. Wörlitz
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Pages194-203
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009 A 203 No. III.23 Fig. III.23
EditorStiftung Preussische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg
TitleCranach und die Kunst der Renaissance unter den Hohenzollern. Kirche, Hof und Stadtkultur
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2009
Most, Wolf et al. 2009 88-89, 93, 97 Fig. 2
AuthorMechthild Most, Anja Wolf, Peter Klein, Undine Köhler, Jens Bartoll, Eva Wenders de Calisse
TitleZur Maltechnik der beiden Cranach und ihrer Werkstatt. Ergebnisse der technologischen Untersuchung der Bildtafeln der Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten
Publicationin Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St. Petri-St. Marien, eds., Cranach und die Kunst der Renaissance unter den Hohenzollern, Exhib. Cat. Berlin
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2009
Pages86-97
Erichsen 1997
AuthorJohannes Erichsen
TitleZwei Schweriner Dokumente zu Lucas Cranach
JournalKunstchronik
Issue50/2
Year of Publication1997
Pages49-53
Michaelis 1989 25
AuthorRainer Michaelis
TitleDeutsche Gemälde 14.-18. Jahrhundert. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1989
Moos 1988
AuthorPeter von Moos
TitleGeschichte als Topik. Das rhetorische Exemplum von der Antike zur Neuzeit und die historiae im "Policraticus" Johanns von Salisbury
Place of PublicationHildesheim, New York
Year of Publication1988
Schade 1974 439 No. 324
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Malerfamilie Cranach
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1974
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schade1974
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937 41 114
EditorStaatliche Museen, Berlin
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä. und Lucas Cranach d. J. Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1937
Friedländer 1906/1907 67-70
AuthorMax J. Friedländer
TitleAltdeutsche und altniederländische Schulen
Publicationin Paul Seidel, ed., Gemälde alter Meister im Besitze Seiner Majestät des deutschen Kaisers und Königs von Preussen
Place of PublicationBerlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1906
Pages45-77

Research History / Discussion

‘The four large exemplum panels, which belonged to Elector Joachim II depict stories from classical antiquity and the old testament, that were popular during the renaissance as exempla of virtue. They were distributed in books for the education of princes (>>Fürstenspiegel<<) as well as being used to decorate representative rooms in castles and town halls. Associated with the depiction of these narratives was the idea that the virtues and vices of illustrious figures could provide standards and role models for political action. The exempla of virtue could on the one hand have a moralizing-didactic character by illustrating correct behavior to the princes or councillors; they could also serve the legitimization of political power and interests by justifying the ruler’s virtuous behavior. The panels in Berlin illustrate the monarchical virtues of moderation, wisdom, justice and courage. […]

It may be assumed, that the complex content and composition of the four paintings were based on a design by the father. These were then executed rapidly – probably under the supervision of Lucas Cranach the Younger - by workshop members. This would explain slight inconsistencies in the proportions and other formal details. Friedländer, Rosenberg and Schade on the other hand suggest that the painting is an autographed work by the son.‘

[Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 200-201, nos. III.20-23]

‚Since the late 15th century this exemplum justitiae was often found in German and Netherlandish town halls and served as a warning against corruption.’

[Elke A. Werner, Exhib. Cat. Berlin 2009, 203, no. III.23]

  • The Judgment of Kambyses (Elector Joachim II's exemplum panels), about 1540 - 1545

Images

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Technical studies

01. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

- an underdrawing is not readily visible; possibly initially executed with fine chalk lines, followed by a fluid, black medium applied with a brush?

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Younger?

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

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