The Adoration of the Magi

The Adoration of the Magi

Title

The Adoration of the Magi

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 49]

Painting on fir (Abies alba)

Medium

Painting on fir (Abies alba)

[Klein Report in the Archive Heydenreich]

The Virgin sits in the centre of the painting holding Christ on her knee. She looks down and her hair is loose. The three kings are arranged around her. The eldest has thinning hair and a beard, he knees in the foreground on the right and offers Christ a dish,

The Virgin sits in the centre of the painting holding Christ on her knee. She looks down and her hair is loose. The three kings are arranged around her. The eldest has thinning hair and a beard, he knees in the foreground on the right and offers Christ a dish, which the child tries to grasp. The second king kneels in the foreground on the left and is turned towards Christ in an attitude of prayer. His headdress lies next to him on the ground like the eldest king. The third and youngest king is depicted as a moor. He stands on the left side of the painting behind the eldest with his gaze fixed on Christ and offers his gift. A group of men stand in the middle distance on the right. The scene is framed on either side by a ruin.

Attributions
Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder
Hans Kemmer (in Cranach the Elder's workshop)

Attributions

Workshop Lucas Cranach the Elder

['Werkstatt Lucas Cranach d. Ä. (Hans Kemmer)', Heydenreich 2021 B, 67] [Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 1998, No. 23.6b] [Gronau 1972, Bd. 1, 44]

Hans Kemmer (in Cranach the Elder's workshop)

['Werkstatt Lucas Cranach d. Ä. (Hans Kemmer)', Heydenreich 2021 B, 67]

Lucas Cranach der Ältere

[Sandner 1998 B, 128] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 79, No. 49]

Production dates
about 1520 - 1525
about 1513 - 1514

Production dates

about 1520 - 1525

[Heydenreich 2007A, 73, 204]

about 1513 - 1514

[Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 1998, No. 23.5b] [Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 79, No. 49] [Sandner 1998 B, 89][Exhib. Cat. Weimar/Wittenberg 1953, 30, No. 7]

after 1517

[Gronau 1972, Bd. 1, 44]

about 1520

[Schade 1974, 67, 386, note 491]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 153.5 x 105.8 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 153.5 x 105.8 cm

  • [Exhib. Cat. Weimar, Wittenberg 1953, 30, no. 7]

Signature / Dating
none
Owner
Ev.-Luth. Kirchgemeinde St. Wenzel, Naumburg
Repository
Stadtkirche St. Wenzel, Naumburg
Location
Naumburg
CDA ID
DE_StWN_NONE-001
FR (1978) Nr.
FR049
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_StWN_NONE-001/

Exhibitions

Erfurt 1903, cat. no. 112
Weimar and Wittenberg 1953, cat. no. 7
Weimar 1972, cat. no. 9

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure / Plate
Heydenreich 2021 B 60, 64-69 Figs. 9, 16, 19, 22, 24, 26, 27
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
TitleHans Kemmer: Spuren künstlerischer Gestaltungsprozesse. Teil II: Wittenberg
Publicationin Dagmar Täube, ed., Lucas Cranach der Ältere und Hans Kemmer. Meistermaler zwischen Renaissance und Reformation [Lübeck, St. Annen-Museum]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2021
Pages59-69
Heydenreich 2007 B 43 34, 35
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
Title"... dass Du mit wunderbarer Schnelligkeit malest". Virtuosität und Effizienz in der künstlerischen Praxis Lucas Cranachs d. Ä.
Publicationin Bodo Brinkmann, ed., Cranach der Ältere, Exhib. Cat. FrankfurtA
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Pages29-47
Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 1998 128, 236 No. 14.8, 23.6b Figs. 14.8, 23.6b
EditorWartburg-Stiftung, Eisenach, Fachhochschule , Ingo Sandner
TitleUnsichtbare Meisterzeichnungen auf dem Malgrund. Cranach und seine Zeitgenossen. Ausstellungskatalog und Tagungsband Katalogteil 1; 2: Werkstatt und Schüler Cranachs; 3: Süddeutsche Meister; 4: Albrecht Dürer und sein Kreis; 5: Rheinische Meister
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication1998
Pages229-240
Sandner 1998 B 89
AuthorIngo Sandner
TitleCranach als Zeichner auf dem Malgrund
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
Pages83-95
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 79 No. 49 Fig. 49
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 B No. 9
EditorSchlossmuseum Weimar
TitleLucas Cranach 1472-1553. Ein großer Maler in bewegter Zeit
Place of PublicationWeimar
Year of Publication1972
Exhib. Cat. Weimar, Wittenberg 1953 7
AuthorWalther Scheidig
EditorDeutsche Lucas Cranach Komitee
TitleLucas Cranach Ausstellung. Weimar und Wittenberg
Place of PublicationWeimar, Wittenberg
Year of Publication1953
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932 044
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

Research History / Discussion

[The painting shows] the three wise men bringing gifts to the infant Christ. Ruins indicate the stable, but in comparison with other Cranach paintings the landscape recedes, while the large figures occupy the central area of the pictorial plane. Two kneeling kings and the Virgin create a stringent triangular composition and among the group rendering homage approaching from the right is a grandiose bare-headed figure with striking features and tousled hair.

Looking at other depictions of the Virgin and women by Cranach it is apparent that a new female pictorial type manifests itself here, one with a very harmonious ‘beautiful’ face and with eyes cast down. Cranach had in the meantime seen paintings by Dürer, and temporarily shared his search for an ideal representation of the Virgin.

The years 1514/15 saw a sort of collaboration between the two masters, when first Dürer and then Cranach executed hand drawings in a prayer book for Emperor Maximilian (see No. 332). However this idealized depiction of the Virgin was in the long run foreign to Cranach’s aspirations, and he soon returned to his own form of representation, that more accurately illustrated the biblical text and allowed more scope for realistic features.

[Exhib. Cat. Weimar/Wittenberg 1953, 30-31, No. 7]

An earlier date cannot be excluded for this painting (1509-10) as there is no trace of the Dürer influence, which is typical of paintings from about 1512/14.

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, 79, No. 49]

The painting depicting ‚The Adoration of the Magi‘ in the Church of St Wenzel in Naumburg, dated about 1513/14 by Friedländer and Rosenberg , was probably not painted before 1520 as can be concluded from the application of tow along the joins.

[Heydenreich 2007 A, 73]

A later version of the Magi [491] in Naumburg painted about 1520 is related in another way. Strangely enough it appears to be strongly orientated on a different prototype [492], but employs many of Dürer’s ideas in the details [493].

[Schade 1974, 67]

  • The Adoration of the Magi, about 1520 - 1525

Images

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Technical studies

04. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

Tools/Materials:

- fluid, black medium and brushes of varying widths

Type/Ductus:

- detailed and freehand underdrawing

- fine lines (faces) in combination with thin to broader lines

Function:

- only partially binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details and the facial features; possible representation of volume

Deviations:

- alterations made during the painting process to clearly define form; larger and smaller changes (e.g. hand and foot of the Infant Christ)

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Wokshop Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2021]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

1997Technical examination / Scientific analysis

Support

- vertical planks

- 8 softwood planks of varying width, from the top left to the top right c. 11.8/12.0/23/14,5/15/9/10.2/12.5 cm; from the bottom left to the bottom right c. 11(?)/11/23/21/12/8.7/9/12 cm, wider planks were employed in the centre of the panel

- numerous knots have been retained (among other areas these are visible along the left edge)

- all the joins have been covered with a fibrous material on the recto

- the verso could not be examined in situ, some wooden blocks attached to reinforce the joins were visible

Ground and Imprimatura

- white ground

- the barbe was not visible when examining the painting in situ

Underdrawing

- in normal light the underdrawing is visible in various areas

- it was executed employing black ink/paint and a comparatively large brush (max. stroke width 6 mm – in the headdress on the bottom left)

- very confident and free strokes

- see illustration in [Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 1998, 128, No. 14.8]

Framing

New frame: rebate frame with a wide and deep profile, black coating, the inner bar is gilded with a silver coloured metal

[Heydenreich, unpublished examination report 1997]

  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph
  • created by n. a.

- 1997Scientific analysis

  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology

Support

- white fir (Abies alba)

  • examined by Peter Klein

Condition Reports

Date1997

  • the annual rings are visible in some areas on the surface

  • the green robe of the king on the left has darkened significantly

  • the paint layer exhibits cupping in the area over the fibrous applications

    losses, particularly in the area of the joins, have been retouched

    the flesh paint is damaged and restored on the Christ Child in the area of the nose and the forehead as well as on the right side of the Virgin's face (joins)

  • dark retouches are particularly prominent in the yellowish gold robe of the king

[Heydenreich, unpublished examination report 1997]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'The Adoration of the Magi', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_StWN_NONE-001/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'The Adoration of the Magi', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/DE_StWN_NONE-001/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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