Saint Christopher [verso, left wing]

Saint Christopher [verso, left wing]

Title

Saint Christopher [verso, left wing]

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Painting on lime wood

Medium

Painting on lime wood

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

These four panels were part of a triptych whose central image is now lost. The exterior left wing depicts Saint Christopher with the Christ Child on his shoulders and a tree trunk that he uses to wade the river. The right wing depicts Saint George in armour standing on the

These four panels were part of a triptych whose central image is now lost. The exterior left wing depicts Saint Christopher with the Christ Child on his shoulders and a tree trunk that he uses to wade the river. The right wing depicts Saint George in armour standing on the dragon that he has defeated. Both saints look out at the viewer, capturing our attention. The inside left wing depicts Saint Elizabeth reading, with Duke George of Saxony in the lower part, while the right interior wing has Saint Anne with her hands crossed on her breast, accompanied by Duchess Barbara of Saxony. The two donors are shown kneeling with their hands joined in prayer and their bodies outlined against the dark background of the wall that separates them from the accompanying saints. Isolde Lübbeke considered that the striking difference in proportion between the Duke and Duchess and the saints reflected the patron's instructions. The panels are considered to have been painted after Cranach's trip to the Low Countries due to the way the figures are modelled and the nature of the composition.

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Attribution
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attribution

Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Production dates
about 1514
about 1508 - 1510

Production dates

about 1514

[Museo thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

about 1508 - 1510

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 28]
[Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, Nos. 592b, 593b, figs. 329, 330, 331; Nos. 592, 593, figs. 327, 328]

about 1508

-
Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 85 x 31 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 85 x 31 cm

  • Dimensions including frame: 101 x 47 cm

  • [Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Owner
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Repository
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), Barcelona
Location
Barcelona
CDA ID
ES_MTB_110-b-1928-14-1
FR (1978) Nr.
FR028
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/ES_MTB_110-b-1928-14-1/

Provenance

  • Private Collection, Mechelen
  • Haberstock Gallery, Berlin, 1928
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1928
  • in 1992 on deposit in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
  • in 1993 aquired the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Exhibitions

Munich 1930, No. 86
London1961, No. 30
Basel 1974, No. 592b
Stockholm 1988, No. 20
Madrid 2007 - 2008, No. 182
Brüssel 2010 - 2011, No. 110b
Udino 2012, No. 64

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Illegio 2012 247-250
EditorSerenella Castri
TitleI bambini e il cielo
Place of PublicationTurin
Year of Publication2012
Exhib. Cat. Brussels 2010 236
EditorBozarbooks & Lannoo, Guido Messling
TitleDie Welt des Lucas Cranach. Ein Künstler im Zeitalter von Dürer, Tizian und Metsys [anlässlich der Ausstellung "Die Welt des Lucas Cranach", Palast der Schönen Künste, Brüssel, 20. Oktober 2010 - 23. Januar 2011]
Place of PublicationBrussels
Year of Publication2010
Cat. Madrid 2009 260-261 Fig.
EditorMar Borobia, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
TitleMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Pintura Antigua
Place of PublicationMadrid
Year of Publication2009
Exhib. Cat. Madrid 2007/2008 377-380 No. 182 Fig. p. 384
EditorFernando Checa
TitleDurero y Cranach. Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento [Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza]
Place of PublicationMadrid
Year of Publication2007
Auct. Cat. New York 2004 50 Fig.
EditorChristie's Fine Art Auction House, New York
TitleChristie's. Important Old Master Paintings. Friday 23 January, 2004
Place of PublicationNew York
Year of Publication2004
Cat. Barcelona 2004 124-127 Fig.
AuthorMar Borobia
EditorMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
TitleColección Thyssen-Bornemisza en el Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Place of PublicationMadrid
Year of Publication2004
Pérez-Jofre 2001 147-151 Fig.
AuthorTeresa Pérez-Jofre
EditorMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
TitleGrandes obras de arte
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2001
Grimm 1998 80
AuthorClaus Grimm
TitleDie Anteile von Meister und Werkstatt. Zum Fall Lucas Cranach d.Ä.
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
Pages67-82
Schade, Schuttwolf 1994 18
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
Marías, Luca de Tena 1993 64-67 Fig.
AuthorFernando Marías, Consuelo Luca de Tena
TitleColección Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monasterio de Pedralbes
Place of PublicationBarcelona
Year of Publication1993
Cat. Madrid 1992 292-293, 671, 672 No. 110b Fig.
AuthorMar Borobia, Pita Andrade, José Manuel
EditorMuseo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
TitleMaestros Antiguos del Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Place of PublicationBarcelona
Year of Publication1992
Lübbeke 1991 194-201 No. 43 Fig.
AuthorSammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza, Isolde Lübbeke
TitleThe Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Early German painting 1350-1550
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1991
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1989 90 Fig.
AuthorCaroline de Watteville
EditorThyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleThe Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Guide to the Exhibited Works
Place of PublicationMilan
Year of Publication1989
Exhib. Cat. Stockholm 1988 No. 20
EditorNationalmuseum, Stockholm
TitleCranach och den tyska renässancen
Place of PublicationStockholm
Year of Publication1988
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1986 85 No. 76 Fig.
EditorGertrude Borghero, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleThyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Catalogue raisonné of the exhibited works of art
Place of PublicationMilan
Year of Publication1986
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 No. 28
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974/1976 677, 679 No. 592b Figs. 329, 331
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
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1971
AuthorJohann Ebbinge-Wubben, Charles James Sterling, Christian A. zu Salm
EditorRudolf Heinemann, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleSammlung Thyssen-Bornemisza
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationZurich
Year of Publication1971
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1969 86 (vol. 1) No. 76 Fig. 57 (vol. 2)
AuthorJohann Ebbinge-Wubben, Charles James Sterling, Christian A. zu Salm
EditorRudolf Heinemann, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleThe Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationLugano-Castagnola
Year of Publication1969
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1964
EditorRudolf Heinemann, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleCollection Chateau de Rohoncz
Place of PublicationLugano
Year of Publication1964
Exhib. Cat. London 1961 No. 30
EditorThe National Gallery, London
TitleFrom Van Eyck to Tiepolo. An Exhibition of Pictures from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection [London, The National Gallery]
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1961
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1958 27 No. 104 Fig. 21
AuthorRudolf Heinemann
EditorThyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleStiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz
Place of PublicationLugano-Castagnola
Year of Publication1958
Exhib. Cat. Lugano 1949 25-26 No. 66
AuthorRudolf Heinemann, Adolf Feulner
EditorThyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleAus dem Besitz der Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz [Lugano-Castagnola, Villa Favorita]
Place of PublicationLugano-Castagnola
Year of Publication1949
Posse 1942 55 Nos. 28, 29 Fig. p. 55
AuthorHans Posse
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä.
Place of PublicationVienna
Year of Publication1942
Cat. Lugano-Castagnola 1937 37-38 104 Pl. 49 (vol. 2)
AuthorRudolf Heinemann
EditorThyssen-Bornemisza Collection
TitleStiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz
Volume2 vols
Place of PublicationLugano-Castagnola
Year of Publication1937
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932 34-35 27 Fig. 26
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
Exhib. Cat. Munich 1930 A No. 86
Authorn. a.
TitleSammlung Schloss Rohoncz, Plastik und Gewerbe [Munich, Neue Pinakothek]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication1930
Hugelshofer 1930 410-411
AuthorWalter Hugelshofer
TitleDie altdeutschen Bilder der Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz
JournalDer Cicerone
IssueVol. 22
Year of Publication1930
Pages410-412
Mayer 1930 302, 308 Fig.
AuthorAugust Liebmann Mayer
TitleDie Ausstellung der Sammlung 'Schloss Rohoncz' in der Neuen Pinakothek
JournalPantheon
IssueVol. 6
Year of Publication1930

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

On the exterior wings Cranach depicted Saint Christopher and Saint George against a dark background. Their gazes capture the viewer’s attention, as do their measured poses, which determine the composition. Saint Christopher, patron saint of sudden death, carries the Christ Child on one shoulder. Looking out at the viewer, the Infant Christ holds onto a lock of the giant’s hair and blesses with his other hand. As is traditional in depictions of this saint, Christopher uses a large branch to help him ford the river. Saint George wears his traditional knight’s armour and stands on the dragon’s back with his sword unsheathed, holding the beast by the tail. Cranach gave the saint a discreet halo that glows over his head.

The inner wings depict the monumental figures of Saint Elizabeth and Saint Anne against a graduated background of sky, while the lower parts contain figures of the donors, George, Duke of Saxony and his wife, the Duchess Barbara. Kneeling on the ground and in prayer, they are set against dark, flat backgrounds with stepped elements that are abruptly inset into the main compositions in an odd way. Friedländer and Rosenberg’s monograph on Cranach suggested that these figures might have been added later around 1518 in comparison to 1508 for the rest of the work. These authors also noted that the scale of the figures conforms more to Gothic models than to early 16th-century painting. For this reason the panels were the subject of a technical study with the aim of establishing whether or not the two donors figures were added later. The results, which were published by Isolde Lübbeke, established the fact that the pigments and medium used for the two female saints and the donors were the same. In addition, the clothes of the saints were only finished in a few areas and the rest of the composition was left unfinished. This information, as well as the notable technical and stylistic similarity between all the figures, led Lübbeke to consider that these panels were one, unified work, painted at the same time. The difference in proportion between the saints and donors must thus respond to a personal decision on the part of client who commissioned the work.

This was not the only occasion on which Cranach depicted the Duke and Duchess of Saxony as donors. In Meissen Cathedral there is a triptych whose central panel depicts Christ as the Man of Sorrows. The lateral panels depict an older Duke and Duchess in prayer, flanked by pairs of saints. Various portraits of Barbara of Saxony have also survived by Cranach and his workshop, such as the version in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, which is directly inspired by the present image. If we compare the two, the only significant change visible is that of the position of the hands.

Among the various suggestions as to what would have been the central panel of this now dismembered altarpiece is that of the lost Galluzzo Madonna of 1515. That Virgin in a landscape with the Christ Child and Saint John the Baptist would establish a logical connection with the present panels in terms of iconography. The rounded faces and soft model have led these panels to be dated to the years following Cranach’s visit to the Low Countries. Characteristic of his style is the masterful way of depicting transparent, gauzy materials such as Saint Elizabeth’s ruff and Saint Anne’s delicate veil.

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

  • Saint Christopher [verso, left wing], about 1514

Images

Compare images
  • overall

Technical studies

2012Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Identification of wood species / Dendrochronology

Support

- lime wood

- identification of the wood as lime wood was undertaken by Emil Bosshard in 1988 and confirms Professor Gräff’s conclusion of 1930

- the very thin support (c. 1 mm) was transferred to a new wooden surface and glued to a conifer panel which is painted black on the reverse

Paint Layers and Gilding

- preserved paint edge, probably original, beneath the overpaintings on the edges

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Condition Reports

Date2012

  • the very thin support (c. 1 mm) was transferred to a new wooden surface and glued to a conifer panel which is painted black on the reverse

[Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, revised 2012]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Saint Christopher [verso, left wing]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/ES_MTB_110-b-1928-14-1/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Saint Christopher [verso, left wing]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/ES_MTB_110-b-1928-14-1/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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