Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso]

Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso]

Title

Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso]

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

Painting on lime wood

Medium

Painting on lime wood

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

[This panel] depicts Saint Genevieve and Saint Apollonia. Saint Genevieve (422-512) was the patron saint of Paris and protector of the Parisians during the invasions of the Huns and Franks. She holds the candle that miraculously relit after being extinguished by the devil, when she was praying alone in church

[This panel] depicts Saint Genevieve and Saint Apollonia. Saint Genevieve (422-512) was the patron saint of Paris and protector of the Parisians during the invasions of the Huns and Franks. She holds the candle that miraculously relit after being extinguished by the devil, when she was praying alone in church at night. Her pendant may be intended to represent the Greek letters for alpha and omega, the beginning and end of the Greek alphabet, symbolising God or Christ. Her skirt is a rich green, with bands of gold damask, and is worn over a purple underskirt. Her gold bodice bears the letters GSE and is worn over a white shirt with red lacing on the sleeves and a red frontlet with black lacing; her lower left-hand sleeve is of gold damask while her lower right-hand sleeve is a grey textile striped with red. She wears a gold chain around her shoulders and a narrower gold chain with a pendant looped once around her neck. Her brown hair is bound in plaits, one of which can be seen curling around the back of her right arm, and she wears a narrow black headband. Saint Apollonia of Alexandria (died 249) holds a pair of pincers (also represented on the pendant of her necklace); her teeth were extracted during her martyrdom. She wears a bright red dress with a semi-transparent black chequered shawl around her shoulders. Her fair hair falls in curls over her shoulders.

The two National Gallery panels once formed the outer faces of the shutters of Cranach's 'The St Catherine Altarpiece', signed and dated 1506. The central panel showing the martyrdom of the saint and the inner faces of the shutters are in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden. Two copies of the altarpiece were made in 1586 and 1596 by Daniel Fritsch of Torgau. The altarpiece was evidently brought to Dresden from Torgau in 1736, but by 1786 the fronts and reverses of the shutters had been separated (see Provenance). The inner shutters depict Saints Dorothy, Agnes and Cunigunde, and Saints Barbara, Ursula and Margaret; there has been some debate concerning which shutter was originally fixed to the left of the centre panel and which to the right.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

Attribution
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attribution

Lucas Cranach the Elder

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

Production date
1506

Production date

1506

[central panel dated]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 122.7 (l.e) - 123 (r.e.) x 66.3 (top) - 66 (bottom) cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 122.7 (l.e) - 123 (r.e.) x 66.3 (top) - 66 (bottom) cm

  • Dimensions of painted surface: 122.7 (l.e.) - 123 (r.e.) x 64.3 cm

  • [National Gallery archive 2013]

Signature / Dating
None
Owner
The National Gallery, London
Repository
The National Gallery, London
Location
London
CDA ID
UK_NGL_6511-1
FR (1978) Nr.
FR015
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6511-1/

Provenance

  • both paintings are first recorded in the copies of 'The St Catherine Altarpiece' made by the Torgau painter Daniel Fritsch, which are dated 1586 and 1596 (now Gotisches Haus, Stiftung Dessau Wörlitz and the Evangelical church (Dorfkirche), Berlin, Alt-Tempelhof, respectively).
  • according to an inventory taken at Schloss Hartenfels, Torgau, in 1610 there was in the 'Schöne Fürstenkammer' an 'alte gemahlte Taffel von Ölfarben darauff die Historien von der Catharina', described in 1601 merely as a 'grosser Flügelaltar mit vergoldetem Rahmen', which can probably be identified with Cranach's altarpiece.[1]
  • in 1738 the altarpiece was brought to Dresden from Torgau by the court painter Bonaventura Rossi. It can evidently be identified in the 'Specification derjenigen Bilder, so von Monsieur Rossi von dem Schlosse zu Torgau mit nach Dresden genommen worde' that was drawn up in Torgau on 12 July 1738, as number 2, 'Ein Bild, worauff die Historia der Dorothea auf Holz, in 3 Feldern gemahlt'.[2]
  • the whole altarpiece is first recorded in the Dresden royal collection from 1786 in records of paintings to be sold; the wing panels had evidently been sawn in two by this date, as inner and outer panels were listed separately.[3]
  • the two outer wings were sold in 1797 together with one interior wing: the panel with Saint Apollonia (NG6511.1) was sold on 27/8 July for 2 Thaler 8 Groschen, and the Saint Ottilia panel (NG6511.2) on 2 December for 11 Groschen.[4]
  • all three panels were acquired at an unknown date, probably via the Dresden painter Ferdinand Hartmann (1774-1842), by Heinrich Wilhelm Campe (1771-1862), a Leipzig businessman and collector, and sold on 24 September 1827 in Leipzig.[5]
  • the National Gallery panels are listed in the sale catalogue as numbers 286 and 287, by Hans Holbein the Elder; number 300, the interior panel depicting Saint Dorothy and her companion, was sold by Hans Baldung Grien.[6]
  • the latter was acquired by the Leipzig collector Maximilian Speck von Sternburg (1776-1856), and remained in the possession of his descendants until acquired by the Dresden Gemäldegalerie in 1996, where it had been on loan since 1931.[7]
  • NG6511.1 and NG6511.2 were purchased at the 1827 sale by a Berlin dealer, 'v.d. Laar', perhaps the artist Ferdinand von Laer (active 1828-40), for a total of 50 Taler and 4 Groschen.[8]
  • by 1875 they were in the collection of the banker and trustee of the National Gallery, Samuel Loyd, 1st Baron Overstone (1796-1883).[9]
  • they were inherited by his descendents and acquired by the National Gallery from the Loyd Trustees through a private treaty sale in 1987.

[1][Findeisen, Magirius 1976,167]; [Marx 1996, 39].
[2][Marx, Mössinger, Exhib. Cat Chemnitz 2005, 380, 387, fn. 2]; and [Marx 1996, 40, 60, fn. 35]. Transcript made by Dr Hans Posse in Archiv der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, Posse Archive, vol. XXII, after documents formerly in the Staatsarchiv Dresden, Cap VII, no. 8, Verschiedene Verzeichnisse von Gemälden, loc. 18212. I am most grateful to Katrin Kolb of the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, for discussing with me the archival evidence concerning the altarpiece at Dresden in the eighteenth century and providing a copy of relevant parts of her transcript of Dr Posse's notes.
[3][Kolb, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 380]
[4]Ibid.; [Posse 1936, 246]; Posse transcript in the archives of the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, after Staatsarchiv Dresden, Cap VII, no. 25 no. 15, sold on 27/8 July 1797: 'Die heil. Utilia ein Buch inder Hand haltend, worauf zwey Augen liegen, dabei noch eine Heilige' and 'nicht zur Auction übergeben worden'; catalogue no. 88, 'Die Enhauptung der heil. Catherina'; no. 139, 'Die heil. Utilia dabey noch eine Heilige von L. Cranach'; under 'verauctionert' no. 140, 'Die heil. Appollonia, dabey eine Heilige so ein Licht in der Hand halt von L. Cranach 2 Thaler 8 Gr.'; and no. 141, 'Die heil. Agnes ... dabey die hl. Dorothea'. The panel with Ottilia was sold on 2 December for 11 Groschen.
[5]Information kindly provided by Dr Dieter Gleisberg: correspondence in NG files. See also [Kolb, Exhib, Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 381, fn. 12] (citing [Gleisberg 2000, 116]). The presence of the Cranach panels in the Campe sale in Leipzig in 1827 was first noted in [Trautscholdt 1957, 244].
[6]See [Kolb, Exhib, Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 381]
[7] Ibid. For Maximilian Speck von Sternburg see further [Gleisberg 1998, 22-40, esp. p. 23] (I am grateful to Katrin Kolb for this reference).
[8][Kolb, Exhib, Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 381]
[9][Parris 1967,13]
[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

Exhibitions

London 1906, Nos. 46 and 58
Oxford 1934, Nos. 22 and 28
Birmingham 1945 (until 1952), Nos. 10 and 11
London 1956, Nos. 16 and 18
Kings Lynn Festival 1966, Nos 14 and 15
London 1974-1987, on long term loan, National Gallery, London
London 1997

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005 380, 381, 385 029 (under)
EditorHarald Marx, Karin Kolb, Ingrid Mössinger
TitleCranach Anlässlich der Ausstellung Cranach vom 13. November 2005 bis 12. März 2006 in den Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz. Eine Ausstellung in Kooperation mit der Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Kolb 2005 C 533
AuthorKarin Kolb
TitleDokumentation zum Dresdener Cranach-Bestand
Publicationin Harald Marx, Ingrid Mössinger, Karin Kolb, eds., Cranach. Gemälde aus Dresden, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Pages526-572
Marx 2005 99 Figs. 15, 16
AuthorHarald Marx
TitleDresden als Cranach-Palast und der 'moderne' Cranach
Publicationin Harald Marx, Ingrid Mössinger, Karin Kolb, ed., Cranach. Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz
Place of PublicationCologne
Year of Publication2005
Pages88-111
Exhib. Cat. Eisenach 1998 113 No. 13.2 Figs. 13.2a-c
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 87
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
Campbell et al. 1997
AuthorLorne Campbell, Susan Foister, Ashok Roy
TitleMethods and materials of Northern European painting in the National Gallery, 1400-1500
JournalNational Gallery Technical Bulletin
Issue18
Year of Publication1997
Pages6-55
Marx 1996 A
AuthorHarald Marx
TitleDer Katharinenaltar von Lucas Cranach dem Älteren
Publicationin Kulturstiftung der Länder, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, eds., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Der linke Flügel (Innenseite) des Katharinenaltars von 1506
SeriesPatrimonia
Volume115
Place of PublicationBerlin, Dresden
Year of Publication1996
Pages7-61
Erichsen 1994 B 81
AuthorJohannes Erichsen
TitleVorlagen und Werkstattmodelle bei Lucas Cranach
Publicationin Claus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhof, eds., Lucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken, Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26/94
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Pages180-185
Schade, Schuttwolf 1994 52
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
NGL 1988 32-34
EditorThe National Gallery, London
TitleThe National Gallery Report January 1985 - December 1987
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1988
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 69 15 Fig. 15
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Parris 1967 16
AuthorLeslie Parris
TitleThe Loyd Collection of Paintings and Drawings
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1967
Posse 1936 243-248
AuthorHans Posse
TitleLucas Cranachs Katharinenaltar in der Dresdener Galerie
JournalPantheon
Issue9
Year of Publication1936
Pages242-249
Friedländer 1911 25-27
AuthorMax J. Friedländer
TitleCranachs Katharinen-Altar von 1506
JournalZeitschrift für bildende Kunst
IssueN.F. 22=46.1911
Year of Publication1911
Pages25-27
Friedländer 1906 588
AuthorMax J. Friedländer
TitleDie Ausstellung altdeutscher Kunst in Burlington Fine Arts Club zu London
JournalRepertorium für Kunstwissenschaft
Issue29
Year of Publication1906
Pages582-591
Flechsig 1900 A 82-83
AuthorEduard Flechsig
TitleCranachstudien
Volume1
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication1900
Link page/n5/mode/2up
Kugler 1853 494
AuthorF. Kugler
TitleKleine Schriften und Studien zur Kunstgeschichte
Place of PublicationStuttgart
Year of Publication1853
Kugler 1837 B 128
AuthorF. Kugler
TitleHandbuch der Geschichte der Malerei in Deutschland, den Niederlanden, Spanien, Frankreich und England
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1837

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

For further discussion of this panel see:

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

Some scholars have suggested that Cranach was assisted in the making of the altarpiece, and that the National Gallery panels might be the work of assistants.[1] Heydenreich has noted adjustments to Saint Margaret's headdress and argued that this represents Cranach himself correcting the work of an assistant.[2] Cranach employed workshop assistants at the time of the painting of 'The St Catherine altarpiece': in 1505 he paid a 'Christoph Maler' from Munich, as well as an unnamed journeyman.[3] Studies of the techniques of Cranach's paintings have suggested that on occasion the painting of the whole of the exteriors of the shutters of large altarpieces may have been delegated to assistants, and that there are also instances of collaboration on single panels.[4] Christoph may well have assisted in the painting of the National Gallery panels. Schade observed a disparity in quality between the left and right faces of the shutters.[5] There is certainly some compositional disparity: saints Genevieve and Apollonia are placed further away from the viewer and hence higher up the panel than Saints Christina and Ottilia; the feet of the former pair of saints are visible but not those of the latter.[6] The figures of Saints Christina and Ottilia are perhaps painted with slightly more vigour and refinement than Saints Genevieve and Apollonia, although the underdrawing of all four heads is of equally high quality and is probably by Cranach himself. It is conceivable that the shutter with Saints Christina and Ottilia received more attention from Cranach himself than the other, but the differences in quality are not great. The painting of both National Gallery panels can be plausibly attributed to Cranach himself with workshop assistance.

[1] [Schade 1974, 382, fn 266]; [Marx 1996 A, 33] and further comments on the unusally elongated figures and their placing, ibid., p. 34.

[2] [Heydenreich 2007 A, 292–3, 308–9].

[3] Ibid. p. 310 and p. 406, document no. 5, September 1505.

[4] [Heydenreich 2007 A, 289–98].

[5] [Schade 1974, 382, fn 266]; also Schade, oral communication at the National Gallery, confirming his opinion.

[6] [Marx 1996 A, 34]; [Kolb, Exhib. Cat. Chemnitz 2005, 386–7]

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

  • Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso], 1506

Images

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Technical studies

Date2016

Support

The panels of both pictures are made of horizontally joined boards of lime(?) wood. For NG6511.1 nine boards were used and for NG 6511.2 ten (see diagram online). Each of the joins in the panels was aligned with two butterfly keys set into the fronts of the panels before they were painted, located about 7.5 cm in from the left and right edges

Ground and Imprimatura

The ground is chalk, confirmed by X-ray diffraction. Although not visible in the X-ray images, fibres could be seen in the ground in several samples and these seem to be sandwiched between two layers. The ground has been covered with a thin off-white or pale pinkish priming layer consisting of lead white and a little red lead.

Underdrawing

There is a free, linear underdrawing in a liquid medium, visible in infrared images of both panels. The presence of black backgrounds, other areas of black paint and of gold leaf means that not all of the underdrawing can be seen by infrared reflectography, but enough is made visible to give a good overall impression. The drawing consists of simple outlines and appears to be freehand, although the heads at least are probably based on the copying by eye of pattern drawings. There are many small changes between the underdrawing and the finished paintings.

In Saint Genevieve’s face (NG 6511.1) the eyes are painted slightly lower than where they were underdrawn. The nose that was drawn was rounder, and the ear higher and wider than that finally painted. The eyebrows are indicated with a series of short parallel dashes. The edge of the hair and parting are drawn, and the plait is indicated very freely by a series of interlocking arcs. Similar lines are drawn under the paint of the puff of the sleeve at the shoulder and might indicate that her plait was planned to lie on her shoulder. Both hands were also underdrawn: the fingers of the hand at the top of the candle were painted higher than they were drawn. The outlining of the face of Saint Apollonia has a sketchy quality, and the lines around the eyes and nose are broken, as is the line round the profile. The chin was painted in a lower position than it was drawn. There are some random curving lines to indicate the hair. Slight changes are visible in the position of the arms and the fingers have been moved. The skirt was drawn wider so that it touched the trailing skirt of Saint Genevieve. There are other lines visible at the bottom of the skirt which extend into the foreground. They have the same texture and quality as the rest of the drawing but their purpose is unclear.

Saint Christina’s eyes (in NG6511.2) are drawn looking to the right, not directly at the viewer as painted. A large ear was drawn under the hair, but it was not painted. A line across the left hand at the position of the knuckles could either be an indication of the anatomy, or the position for the cuff of an inner sleeve that was not painted. There are small adjustments to the position of Saint Ottilia’s right eye, which was painted lower than it was drawn. There are parallel curved lines below the lower eyelids in the areas painted as shadow. The outlines of the saint’s veil are underdrawn and this guide was followed in painting. The folds of the headdress over her shoulder are sketched with considerable freedom, which was not always followed at the painting stage.

Paint Layers and Gilding

The swags at the top of each panel; Saint Genevieve’s bodice, jewellery and the bands of brocade on her skirt; Saint Apollonia’s necklace; Christina’s robe; and Ottilia’s book are all mordant-gilded. The adhesive (mordant) for the gold leaf is brownish-yellow in colour and consists mainly of yellow earth, with a little lead white, red earth and verdigris. When this last pigment is found in mordants it is usually considered to be present as a drier, which implies an oil-based binder, although this has not been confirmed by analysis. The swags are modelled with black lines and a more translucent brownish paint. Similarly, on the gilded garments a translucent warm brown has been used to model the forms, for example the shadows under Christina’s arms and the folds in her skirt. This is in addition to the pattern on her robe in red lake and what appears to be black but is in fact darkened copper containing green. In contrast, the pattern on her bodice is intended to be black.

There is no medium analysis.

In the black background paint some verdigris has been mixed with the black pigment, probably as a dryer. The same mixture was used for the black pattern on Apollonia’s collar, applied on a pale orange layer composed of lead-tin yellow and red lead. In cross-section, this base colour is more strongly orange at the bottom of the layer and paler nearer the surface, suggesting that there may have been some lightening of the red lead pigment, and that the scarf may originally have been deeper in colour. The paint of her red dress is based on vermilion and red lake, mixed with some black in addition in the shadows. Genevieve’s candle and the haloes of all the saints are painted in lead-tin yellow.

Red lake was used for the ribbons on Genevieve’s sleeves. The deep velvety purple of her underskirt is created with a base layer of black (again containing some verdigris as a drier), on to which deeper or lighter translucent pink mixtures of red lake mixed with varying amounts of lead white have been applied. Her bright green skirt is based on verdigris mixed with varying amounts of lead-tin yellow, as is the green of the grass in the foreground.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

10. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

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DESCRIPTION

Tools/Material:

- dark, fluid medium, brush

Type/Ductus:

- relatively economic and freehand underdrawing

- thin to somewhat broader lines

- Isolated hatching strokes (indicating the area of shadow on St Genevieve left eye)

Function:

- only relatively binding for the final painted version; the lines delineate the main contours, define forms therein and describe facial features; scant representation of volume with hatching strokes

Deviations:

- correction were made to forms during the painting process; few changes

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Sandner, Smith-Contini, Heydenreich, cda 2017]

04. 2009Technical examination / Scientific analysis

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DESCRIPTION

- see 10.2010

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S20. Flesh (and possibly underpaint) of Apollonia’s chin

Black underdrawing under white paint, directly on ground?

- Chalk ground

- Thin layer of black

- White layer

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S18. Orange under black paint of Apollonia’s collar

Red lead and lead-tin yellow (Lead and a small amount of tin detected by EDX).

Black layer; detected lead and copper (ie verdigris present, as in other samples). Transparent inclusion contains Ca. Some fibres visible in the ground layer.

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S17. Grey-brown translucent marbling effect of floor

- Chalk ground

- Thin priming

- Grey; lead white, fine grained black, red

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S16. Bright green of foreground grass

EDX shows lead, tin and copper; ie verdigris, lead-tin yellow and lead white

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S15. Shadow on Apollonia’s red dress

Paint contains vermilion and black

Chalk ground confirmed by X-ray diffraction.

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S14. Black on gold of Genevieve’s skirt

Black, lead white, iron oxide, possibly chalk

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S11. Red lake on grey/gold of Genevieve’s sleeve

Red lake glaze over grey (black and white) over mordant gilding

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S9. Black background near fruit decoration

- Priming layer; lead white and a little red lead

- Yellow brown mordant

- Fine grained black with a little colourless material which is probably chalk.

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S8. Flesh from Genevieve’s forehead, very pale pink

Chalk ground beneath a white layer.

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program - 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S7. Gold and brown of fruit decoration from upper edge

Coarse black in a translucent matrix, a few colourless particles, over gold.

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
  • analysis
  • analysis

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program - 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S6. Gold and brown-black of Genevieve's necklace

- Very thin layer of lead white and red lead (probably a priming)

- White; lead white, one particle of vermilion, a few small transparent areas

- Yellow mordant; earth pigment rich in iron oxide, a little lead white, one particle of verdigris

- Broken up gold leaf

- Coarse black pigment in a translucent matrix

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program - 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S3. Dark purple of Genevieve's underskirt

ARs notes mention that there appears to be some fibrous material in the ground and that, as in S2, there appears to be verdigris mixed with black pigment in the black underlayer. A red lake glaze was applied on top. This layer structure is confirmed by the cross-section;

- Chalk ground

- Very thin layer of lead white and traces of red lead (probably a priming layer)

- Black layer with translucent inclusions; some verdigris was also visible in the unmounted sample

- Thin raspberry red lake glaze

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program - 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S4. Golden-brown of fruit decoration above Genevieve's head, with dark transparent coating on top

AR notes on unmounted sample; black layer on gold, followed by varnish. Fibres are visible in the ground. Yellow-brown mordant for the gold.

Cross section:

- Chalk ground

- Yellow-brown mordant; earth pigments and lead white.

- Gold leaf, quite clearly not burnished.

- Very thin brown layer, difficult to see what is in it; black and red lake? Softwood pitch?

- Thick varnish layer

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
  • analysis
  • analysis

S2. Pink of highlight of Genevieve's purple underskirt

- Chalk ground

- Very thin layer, almost just a sprinkling of white and red pigment; probably a priming layer.

- Black layer containing fine grained pigment; EDX detected a significant amount of copper in this layer, and some dark green particles of verdigris are visible, probably added as a dryer.

- Pink layer; red lake and lead white and a tiny amount of vermilion.

- Overpaint

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
  • analysis

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (Notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program - 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S1. Green of Genevieve's dress, with brownish residue on the surface

- Green layer; verdigris and a little lead tin yellow

- Yellow layer; lead-tin yellow and a little verdigris

- Green layer; verdigris

- Thin brown layer

09.11.2001Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

6511a Lucas CRANACH Genevieve and Apollonia (No additional notes on samples during re-examination for the cataloguing program – 9/11/01) [M. Spring]

S5. Golden-brown decoration of Genevieve’s bodice – brown glaze on top?

S10. Ground and black of background

S12. Yellow of Genevieve’s halo

S13. Bright yellow of candlestick

S19. Yellow of Apollonia’s collar

22.07.1987Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph
  • created by The National Gallery, London

1987Technical Examination

Support

The panel is made up of ten horizontally joined lime (?) planks. All the joins are reinforced by butterfly keys ca. 2’’ high which are located ca 3’’ from the edges of the panels. These butterfly keys have been let into the front of the panels and these outlines are clearly visible on the paint surface. Other keys have been let into the backs of the panels to provide additional reinforcement to some of the joins.’

[National Gallery archive1987]

02.12.1951Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • UV-light photography
  • photographed by The National Gallery, London
  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph

Condition Reports

Date2016

All four edges of NG 6511.1 have been cut. NG 6511.2 has also been cut at the top and bottom, but at the left and right it has probably only been trimmed slightly, since there are narrow rather uneven strips of unpainted wood along these edges. Both panels have been reduced in thickness to less than 0.6 cm. There are a number of horizontal splits in the panels, the most severe across the chests of saints Genevieve and Apollonia (NG 6511.1) and 5.0 cm from the top edge of NG 6511.2. Additional non-original butterfly keys have been set into the backs of both panels after they had been reduced in thickness, to reinforce the splits. During the conservation treatment in 1987-91 cradles were removed and the panels were built up with balsa and wax resin at the back. The remains of glue and wood of a different type to the original panels were found on the backs after the removal of the cradles, suggesting that either other pieces of wood or a secondary wooden support had been attached to the panels in the past.

In the past several of the joins in the panels have opened and many additional horizontal splits have developed, but these are now mended and secure. The paintings are in fair condition, having suffered some paint loss and wearing. Both pictures have horizontal lines of loss associated with joins and splits in the panels. Paint has also been lost from many of the butterfly keys which secure the joins, especially those near the right edge of each panel. NG 6511.2 also has a larger area of paint loss across the top of Saint Christina's head, continuing across the background to the gold ball in the middle. The light paint of the flesh and drapery in both panels has suffered from fine flaking and widening of the craquelure. The red robe of Saint Apollonia and the black habit of Saint Ottilia are both worn, as is the dark background paint on both panels, particularly at the left of NG6511.2.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop, Saints Genevieve and Apollonia and Saints Christina and Ottilia (The St Catherine Altarpiece: Reverses of Shutters)' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-and-workshop-saints-genevieve-and-apollonia-christina-and-ottilia]

Date07. 1987

The surface is generally in fair condition with much paint loss and wearing. There are many small paint losses along the joins and splits, and also where the butterfly keys are let into the front of the panels. The paint from some of the butterfly keys has flaked away entirely. In addition there are losses caused by movement of the panels.

The light paint of the flesh and drapery has suffered from the fine flaking and from the widening of the craquelure. Worst affected is the face of S. Genevieve.

The obscuring varnish makes it difficult to make an accurate assessment of the condition of the dark paint of the background and of S. Apollonia's red robe.

[National Gallery archive1987]

Conservation History

Date07. 1987 - 09. 1991

Most of the old varnish and retouching were soluble in propan-2-ol and white spirit (1:1). The repairs in the gold were also mainly soluble in this mixture, and much of the yellow toning on the gold was soluble in a weaker mixture. Some older retouching, e. g. on the two faces, were very hard and were removed mechanically. Various different types of filling had been used to fill gaps round the butterfly keys and some of the wider splits in the panel; these putties were dug out where possible, and the remainder removed later on during panel work.

It was felt that it would be imprudent to try remove all the old restoration from the gold decorations and from the robes. Some new repairs in gold powder were removed, but older, gold leaf repairs over losses or joins in the panel were left. The status of the toning over the gold was uncertain. Through highly soluble and in places covering new gold leaf, it was also, e. g. in the swags at the top, apparently modelled and complementary to the original black lines on the gold.

The cradle was removed from the back of the panel. The six oak butterfly keys were replaced with balsa wood using Beva 371 as an adhesive. The panel separated into three sections as the cradle was removed. The numerous splits and open joins were manipulated and glued with a urea formaldehyde adhesive. Irregularities in the back of the panel were filled with a Paraloid B67 / sawdust cement. The back of the panel was built up with two layers of balsa wood planks and wax.

The gilded parts of the surface were retouched with gold powder glazed with Ketone N. Paraloid B72 was used for the remainder of the retouching, and Ketone N as a preliminary and final varnish.

  • conservation treatment by Martin Wyld
  • conservation treatment by D. Thomas

Before 1987 ( in the last 100 years):

Panel has been reduced in thickness to less than a quarter of an inch [1] and reinforced with massive teak cradles. This treatment has had the effect that many of the original joins between the planks have opened and the panel has also split severely along the horizontal grain. The panel has horizontal corrugations due to the restraining effect of cradles. Six new oak butterfly keys had been let in to the back of the panel after it had been reduced to its present thickness.

The panel has been cut at all four edges. All the flake losses and most of the losses along the joins and splits are covered by discoloured retouching.

[National Gallery archive 1987]

[1][The panel was not really thinned but in fact split and was originally the reverse of a wing shutter that was painted on both sides]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6511-1/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Altarpiece with the Martyrdom of St Catherine: Saints Genevieve and Apollonia [left wing, verso]', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6511-1/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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