Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony

Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony

Title

Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

Painting on wood

Medium

Painting on wood

[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

'Softwood, cannot be further classified as the panel is fitted in an original frame.'

[Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]

In accordance with traditional marriage diptych portraits the boy is shown in the position usually occupied by the woman.

Consequently the allied coats of arms of the dukedoms of Saxony and Mecklenburg on the reverse of the panel do not correspond with that of the boy but that of the

In accordance with traditional marriage diptych portraits the boy is shown in the position usually occupied by the woman.

Consequently the allied coats of arms of the dukedoms of Saxony and Mecklenburg on the reverse of the panel do not correspond with that of the boy but that of the mother. The diptych can be closed and is decorated along the top edge above the coats of arms and as such is in keeping with the tradition of marriage portraits.

Assuming a strict frontal pose the fair curly headed boy is so close to the viewer that his outline is cropped on all four sides at the edge of the image. He faces the viewer directly with slightly raised eyebrows. The boy's hat is decorated with fantastic ostrich feathers and golden brooches. Decorative slits in his green overcoat reveal a red lining. In his hands he holds a small dagger. [1]

The two sitters are identified by the coats of arms on the back of the right-hand portrait. They confirm the resemblance of the sitter in the left-hand panel to portraits of Johann the Steadfast (1468-1532) Elector of Saxony, who ruled jointly with his brother Frederick the Wise (1463-1525). The right-hand panel must therefore depict his son, Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous (1503¿1554), whose mother Sophie von Mecklenburg died at his birth in 1503.

[1][Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

[2][Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-portraits-of-johann-the-steadfast-and-johann-friedrich-the-magnanimous]

Attribution
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attribution

Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, 143]
[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 19]
[[The National Gallery, revised 2011]

Production date
1509

Production date

1509

[dated]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 42 x 31.2 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 42 x 31.2 cm

  • Dimension including frame: 49.3 x 38.6 cm

  • [The National Gallery, revised 2011]

Signature / Dating
Dated on the right side, upper section: '1509'; in yellow paint

Signature / Dating

  • Dated on the right side, upper section: '1509'; in yellow paint

Inscriptions and Labels
Reverse of the panel: Allied coats of arms of the dukedoms of Saxony and Mecklenburg.They are head erased Sables, langued Gules, …

Inscriptions and Labels

Stamps, Seals, Labels:

  • Reverse of the panel: Allied coats of arms of the dukedoms of Saxony and Mecklenburg.They are head erased Sables, langued Gules, horned Argent, crowned Or. Two Argent a griffin rampant left, armed Or. Three Argent an eagle Gules armed and beaked Or, langued Gules. The wings charged with a trefoil Or.
Owner
The National Gallery, London
Repository
The National Gallery, London
Location
London
CDA ID
UK_NGL_6539
FR (1978) Nr.
FR019
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6539/

Provenance

  • the portraits are first recorded as 'Zwey Churfürsten aus Sachßen Conterfät an Einem Stückh' ('Two portraits of the prince electors from Saxony in one piece') in an inventory listing items in the collection of the Margrave of Baden-Durlach, Karlsburg, Baden-Durlach, which had been transferred in 1688 under Margrave Friedrich VII (ruled 1677 - 1709) to the Markgräfler Hof, Basel, in order to avoid destruction by French troops in the Nine Years War or War of the Palatine Succession.[1]
  • Although in 1715 Margrave Karl III Wilhelm (ruled 1709-38) founded a new capital for his court at Karlsruhe and in 1775 his successor Karl Friedrich (ruled 1738-71) completed a new palace there, many of the paintings, including NG 6538 and 6539, remained stored at Basel. In 1733 and 1776 new inventories were drawn up: the two pictures are recorded in the inventory of 1733 as 'Zwey Churfürsten in Sachsen in Schwartz und vergoldeter Rahm so sich zusamen legen laßen' ('Two prince electors in Saxony in a black and gilded frame which can be folded together').[2]
  • sold at Basel in 1808. They were purchased, along with nearly a hundred others, by Peter Vischer (1751-1823), later called Vischer-Sarasin, of Schloss Wildenstein in Switzerland, a merchant and municipal councillor of Basel. They remained at Schloss Wildenstein in the possession of the Vischer family (the last of whom, Peter Leonhard, died in 1990)
  • auctioned at Christie's, London, on 6 July 1990, no. 42. [3]
  • they were purchased through Christie's in 1991. [4]

[1] Vey 1990, citing Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe no. 56/4077.

[2]. Ibid., citing Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe nos 56/874 and 47/693.

[3]. Ibid.

[4]. NG Annual Report, 1991-2, 16-17.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.
www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-portraits-of-johann-the-steadfast-and-johann-friedrich-the-magnanimous]

Exhibitions

Basel 1974, Nos. 596, 597
London 1997
London 2008, No. 18
London 2008/2009, Nos. 53, 54

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Bonnet, Görres 2015 42-43 11 p. 43
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet, Daniel Görres
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä. - Maler der Deutschen Renaissance
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2015
Dohe 2015 46 Fig. 3
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
Görres 2015 B 48
AuthorDaniel Görres
TitleCranach, Luther und die Ernestiner. Der Epitaphaltar der Stadtkirche St. Peter und Paul in Weimar
Publicationin, Franziska Bomski, Hellmut Th. Seemann, Thorsten Valk, eds., Bild und Bekenntnis. Die Cranach-Werkstatt in Weimar
Place of PublicationGöttingen
Year of Publication2015
Pages37-53
Bonnet, Kopp-Schmidt, Görres 2010 154-155 11
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet, Gabriele Kopp-Schmidt, Daniel Görres
TitleDie Malerei der deutschen Renaissance
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2010
Borchert 2010 27
AuthorTill-Holger Borchert
TitleCranach der Ältere in den Niederlanden
Publicationin Guido Messling, ed., Die Welt des Lucas Cranach. Ein Künstler im Zeitalter von Dürer, Tizian und Metsys, Exhib. Cat. Brussels
Place of PublicationBrussels
Year of Publication2010
Pages26-29
Exhib. Cat. Coburg 2010 195
EditorLWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster, Klaus Weschenfelder, Beate Böckum, Ruth Hansmann, Matthias Müller
TitleApelles am Fürstenhof, Facetten der Hofkunst um 1500 im Alten Reich
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2010
Martin 2010 55
AuthorAndrew John Martin
TitleLucas Cranach et l'arte delle corti del Nord; Lucas Cranach and the Art of the Northern Courts
Publicationin Anna Coliva, Bernhard Aikema, eds., Cranach l¿altro rinascimento, a different Renaissance, Exhib. Cat. Rome
Place of PublicationMilan
Year of Publication2010
Pages48 - 61
Müller 2010 62-63 Fig. 5
AuthorMatthias Müller
Title"Menschen so zu malen, daß sie erkannt werden und zu leben scheinen" Naturnachahmung als Problem in Lucas Cranachs höfischer Porträtmalerei
Publicationin: Apelles am Fürstenhof. Facetten der Hofkunst um 1500 im Alten Reich Exhib. Cat. Coburg 2010
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2010
Pages57-73
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007 150-152 18 pp. 151, 153
EditorBodo Brinkmann
TitleCranach der Ältere, [Frankfurt, Städel Museum, 23 Nov 2007 - 17 Feb 2008]
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Fasert 2007
AuthorSabine Fastert
TitleDie Serienbildnisse aus der Cranach-Werkstatt
Publicationin Andreas Tacke, ed., Lucas Cranach d. Ä. - Zum 450. Todesjahr
Place of PublicationLeipzig
Year of Publication2007
Pages139-143
Heydenreich 2007 A 27, 60, 76-80, 86-88, 98, 149, 169, 106-107, 200-201, 203, 221-222, 339, 394
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
TitleLucas Cranach the Elder
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Year of Publication2007
Link https://lucascranach.org/application/files/6116/2097/3099/Heydenreich_2007_Lucas_Cranach_the_Elder.pdf
Schade 2007 94
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleCranachs Berührung durch die Niederlande. Antinomien einer Reisebetrachtung
Publicationin Bodo Brinkmann, ed., Cranach der Ältere, Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Pages91-97
Langmuir 2006 114-115
AuthorErika Langmuir
TitleNational Gallery - Museumsführer
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication2006
Moser 2004 34
AuthorPeter Moser
TitleLucas Cranach. Sein Leben, seine Welt und seine Bilder
Place of PublicationBamberg
Year of Publication2004
Schade 2003 14
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleBildhaftigkeit bei Cranach
Publicationin Heiz Spielmann, Werner Schade, eds., Lucas Cranach Glaube Mythologie und Maderne , Exhib. Cat. Hamburg 2003
Place of PublicationOstfildern-Ruit
Year of Publication2003
Pages12-21
Cat. London 2001 156, 157
AuthorChristopher Baker, Tom Henry
TitleThe National Gallery - Complete Illustrated Catalogue
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication2001
Cat. London 1999 16-19
AuthorJill Dunkerton, Susan Foister, Nicholas Penny
TitleDürer to Veronese. Sixteenth-Century Painting in The National Gallery
Place of PublicationNew Haven, London
Year of Publication1999
Grimm 1998 77 Fig. 9.19
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
Heydenreich 1998 A 186-187, 197, 198, 199 Fig. 21.20
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
TitleHerstellung, Grundierung und Rahmung der Holzbildträger in den Werkstätten Lucas Cranachs 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
Pages181-200
Sandner 1998 A 56-59
AuthorIngo Sandner
TitleZeichengeräte um 1500
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
Pages51-60
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
NGL 1992
AuthorThe National Gallery, London
TitleThe National Gallery News October 1995
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1995
White, Pilc 1995 88-89
AuthorRaymond White, J. Pilc
TitleAnalysis of Paint Media
JournalNational Gallery Technical Bulletin
Issue16
Year of Publication1995
Pages85-95
Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994 371
EditorClaus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff
TitleLucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken [Festung Rosenberg, Kronach 17.05 - 21.08.1994; Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig 07.09 - 06.11.1994]
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Rebel 1994 134-136 Fig. A75
AuthorErnst Rebel
TitleLucas Cranach Porträtkunst. Personendarstellungen zwischen Vitalität und Formel
Publicationin Claus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff, eds.,Lucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken, Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26
Place of PublicationCoburg, Augsburg
Year of Publication1994
Pages131-138
Schade 1994 B 13
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleCranach in Umrissen
Publicationin Allmuth Schuttwolf, ed., Gotteswort und Menschenbild. Werke von Cranach und seinen Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Gotha
Place of PublicationGotha
Year of Publication1994
Pages13-14
NGL 1992 16
AuthorThe National Gallery, London
TitleThe National Gallery Report. April 1991 - March 1992
Place of PublicationLondon
Year of Publication1992
Dülberg 1990 81, 188 40 Figs. 450-453
AuthorAngelica Dülberg
TitlePrivatporträts. Geschichte und Ikonologie einer Gattung im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1990
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974/1976 143, 264, 422, 683 597 Pl. 8
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. London 2008 194-195
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 71 No. 19 Fig. 19
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Koepplin 1974 A Fig. 2
AuthorDieter Koepplin
TitleZwei Fürstenbildnisse Cranachs von 1509
JournalPantheon
Issue32
Year of Publication1974
Pages25-34
Koepplin 1972 A 347
AuthorDieter Koepplin
TitleZu Cranach als Zeichner: Addenda zu Rosenbergs Katalog
JournalKunstchronik
Issue25, no. 10 (October 1972)
Year of Publication1972
Pages345-348

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

The related colouring suggests that the panel paintings were not created independently of one another. It would appear that the father, Johann the Steadfast, attached importance to the fact that this diptych should manifest his affection and his hopes for his son and his future destiny as elector of Saxony.

[see Brinkmann, 150]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

Despite differences in the depiction of father and son there are obvious similarities: the green in the background of the father is repeated in the son’s robe and the black in the background of the son is repeated in the robe of Johann the Steadfast. The dark clothing and the relatively smaller depiction of the figure of the father make him appear as it were to withdraw into the background, whereas the green robe and the close-up representation of the son make him stand out against the dark background.

[see Baker, Henry 2001, 156], [see Langmuir 2006, 115], [see Brinkmann 2007, 150]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

The child’s head is positioned higher than that of his father, which might indicate that he is smaller and is therefore seated on a stool. [see Langmuir 2006, 114]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

The portrait appears spontaneous, suggesting that Cranach’s portrayal of the boy was specifically for this painting. [see Langmuir 2006, 114]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

Brinkmann interprets the optical discrepancy between the two sitters as a reference to the composition of diptychs in which the Virgin or the Man of Sorrows is venerated by a half-length donor. [see Brinkmann 2007, 150]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

The dagger in his small hands alludes to his transition into adulthood. [see Rebel 1994, 135]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

It is striking that father and son do not look at each other and are at the same time shown from different perspectives. The double portrait of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora, created in the Cranach workshop in 1526 (Private Collection, Hamburg, FR Nos. 189, 190) is similar in this respect. Luther like Johann the Steadfast is shown as a bust portrait in three-quarter profile on the left. His gaze is fixed on a point beyond the picture plane to the right. The depiction of Katharina von Bora exhibits similarities with Johann Friedrich. One theory which would explain this discrepancy within the diptych is that the woman who is by nature smaller and daintier would manifest greater presence if shown as a half-length figure. As the six year old Johann Friedrich is represented in place of a wife and is in reality considerably smaller than his father he is shown frontally as a half-length figure. In contrast Luther’s wife is shown in three-quarter profile, but it is apparent that both face the viewer. Bünsche and Grimm presume that in the case of the double portrait of Luther and his wife the differences are due to the fact that a portrait of the Reformer already existed. According to Dunkerton et al. a frequently used preparatory sketch served as a template for the painting of Johann the Steadfast, whereas Johann Friedrich was portrayed specifically for this painting. Bünsche and Grimm’s theory that the asymmetrical depiction relies solely on the existence of an archetype of Luther seems absurdin the light of the serial production of paintings of both Luther and his wife. Koepplin proposes the theory for the London diptych that the discrepancy may result from different authorship. However after comparison with other diptychs the aforementioned theory that the weaker one of the pair on the right was depicted as a half-length figure also seems plausible. [Friedländer/Rosenberg 1979, Nos. 189, 190 150], [see Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994, 352-353], [see Rebel 1994, 134-135], [see Dunkerton et al. 1999, 16]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

Gunnar Heydenreich assumes that both panels were probably constructed within a narrow time frame by the same carpenter as they each consist of three butt-joined planks, varying in width and these widths correspond on both panels. [Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

This depiction of Johann Friedrich is unique in Cranach’s oeuvre. According to Dunkerton et al. it is not based on a preparatory sketch as it was painted from life. [see Dunkerton et al. 1999, 16]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

Claus Grimm assumes that only the preparatory design for the composition of the portrait of Johann Friedrich is by Cranach. According to Grimm the underdrawing and the painting was executed by an assistant. However this has cannot yet been proved as neither an infrared reflectogram nor examination under the stereomicroscope has revealed an underdrawing. This does not mean that there isn’t one. [see Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994, 371], [see Heydenreich 2007, 106-107, 339], [see Sandner 1998, 56-59]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

The diptych closes from right to left, which is why the verso of Johann Friedrich shows both coats-of-arms pointing up. When closed together both panels in their respective frames form a small box. [see Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974, Fig. 2], [Dülberg 1990, 188, Fig. 452]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

Fasert presumes, that the diptych may have been a diplomatic gift, because it shows the future ruler Johann Friedrich and his father. [see Fastert 2007, 143]

[Laura Thiepold, cda 2012]

  • Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony, 1509

Images

Compare images
  • overall
  • overall
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  • overall
  • reverse
  • reverse
  • reverse
  • irr
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph
  • detail
  • analysis
  • analysis

Technical studies

2016Technical examination / Scientific analysis

Support

The panels are each formed from three thin boards of wood with grain running horizontally.

The backs of both panels are painted black. On NG6538 there is a later inscription in red which reads N27 28. Two shields are painted on the back of NG6539

Ground and Imprimatura

The grounds of the obverses are of chalk. The reverses are painted directly on to the wood with no ground. There does not appear to be any priming.

Underdrawing

- nothing that could be definitely identified as underdrawing was found with infrared reflectography.

Paint Layers and Gilding

The medium of the paint of the green background and black robe in NG6538, and of the green sleeve in NG6539, was identified by GC–MS analysis as linseed oil.[1] A sample of red paint from the pattern on the sleeves in NG6539 was found to contain linseed oil together with with a little pine resin.

Pigments

Verdigris forms the basis for the green background of Johann the Steadfast (NG6538). In the opaque underpaint it is mixed with lead white and lead-tin yellow, while in the final translucent layers it is used alone. Very similar green paint mixtures were used for the main colour of the costume of Johann Friedrich (NG6539). The intense red strips on the boy’s costume consist of vermilion of exceptional quality and the same pigment combined with red earth and black makes up the more brownish-red stripes. There are pale yellow highlights of lead-tin yellow on the gold chain. The basic pale pink tone of the flesh paint is a mixture of white and a little vermilion, with some black pigment in addition in the shadows.

Painting technique

In common with many pictures by Cranach the flesh is thinly painted. Details such as the twisted braids decorating Johann the Steadfast’s hat have been skilfully painted, with rapidly applied touches for the pearls and impasto yellow highlights for the gold, for example for the threads at the end, where the lighter green underpaint has been deliberately left exposed around them to indicate the overall shape of the tuft at the top right of the hat. Similarly, the feather is formed of wet-in-wet strokes of grey and black and has circular markings with the impasto typical of a bodied lead-tin yellow paint.

[1] There was no indication of heat-prepolymerisation of of the addition of resin.

Framing

The frames are original. The profiles, with their simple deep scotia moulding and raised outer edge enriched with a narrow half round, are similar to those found on other frames of works by Cranach of this period.[1] They are joined with a double mortise and tenon joint.[2] It can be seen in X-ray images that neither frame fits the panel exactly: there are gaps top and bottom, although the frames fit tightly on the left and right; however, this can be explained by the natural contraction across the grain of the panels, and is not any indication that the portraits were not originally in these frames.

The outer edges and the backs of the frames are painted black. The inner mouldings were originally gilded although what is now visible is mainly the golden-yellow oil mordant (adhesive) [3], and only fragments of the gold leaf remain. Traces of this mordant pass beneath the black background on NG6539 confirming that it is original and was already in place when the background was painted. On NG6538 there are traces of the original final translucent green paint of the background on the gold, indicating that it was applied when the frames were complete. However, painting of the portraits and decoration of the frames were probably carried out concurrently, since there are also traces of gold from the frame on top of the black background of NG6539 at the left edge The frames are joined with iron hinges and handmade iron nails; this was done after gilding as the tips of the nails are visible in the mouldings.[4]

[1] [Koepplin 1974]; [Heydenreich 2007 A, 76–9]

[2] [Heydenreich 2007 A, 76]

[3] FTIR analysis suggested that the binding medium of the mordant is oil.

[4] Ibid., p. 78; fig. 60, p. 80, shows the hinge.

[Susan Foister, ‘Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous’ published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-portraits-of-johann-the-steadfast-and-johann-friedrich-the-magnanimous]

02. 2011Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

DESCRIPTION

- An underdrawing is not readily visible; alterations are only visible in the neck along the line of the chin

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

  • photographed by The National Gallery, London

2007Technical examination / Scientific analysis

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

Paint Layers and Gilding

"Linseed oil was identified in green, red and black paints on the portraits of Johann the Steadfast and Johann Friedrich I the Magnanimous (1509) and there is no doubt that drying oils predominate in his panel painting."

[Heydenreich 2007, 169], [see also White, Pilc 1995, 88-89]

24.04.1995Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

Sample No.: 2

Location of sample: inner edge of frame

Brief description of paint: very dark green paint. Probably original green paint – to confirm whether or not frame is original. Compare with S4

Observations:

Examination of unmounted fragment, reverse: possibly two layers green and varnish. Perhaps lead white and verdigris and some variety of yellow (lead-tin yellow or lake). Note passes over white, presumed chalk, ground.

Sample No.: 3

Location of sample: inner edge of frame

Brief description of paint: Black paint, probably original as S2. Compare with original background (S 5).

Observations:

Very fine black and coarser black mixture (probably charcoal).

NB S3 from 6539 is similar to S2 black tunic in NG 6538 with coarse and fine black pigments mixed.

Sample No.: 4

Location of sample:

Brief description of paint: Green of tunic. Compare with S2

Observations:

Yellowish green u/l. Probably stronger (solid) green on top. Also similar to S4 in NG 6538

Sample No.: 5

Location of sample:

Brief description of paint: Black of background to compare with S 3.

Observations:

Mainly fine black, trace coarser black and possibly also some red lake (?), trace mineral blue (probably azurite) check EDX. Goes over yellow mordant.

Sample No.: 7

Location of sample: lower edge, left

Brief description of paint: Green of tunic, and fragment of ground for XRD.

Observations:

Sample is filler and retouching.

EDX of white ground: Ca

Sample No.: 8

Location of sample: left-hand side.

Brief description of paint: Brown decorative stripe on sleeve

Observations:

Mixed brown for EDX. Coarse striated HgS and possibly Fe2O3 and black over mid-dark green with striated col. verdigris.

EDX of brown unmounted fragment: Hg, S, Si, Fe, Ca, K, Cu

Sample No.: 9

Location of sample:

Brief description of paint: Brighter red, seen through sleeve (paint as brighter stripes on tunic)

Observations: Fine and coarse vermilion, probably some discoloured vermilion (trace, vestige, of red lake glaze.

Sample No.: 10

Location of sample:

Brief description of paint: yellow of 'chain', miniscule pure sample for XRD (probably lead-tin yellow).

  • analysed by Ashok Roy

24.04.1995Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections

Sample No.: 6

Sample location: from edge of circular loss

Brief description of paint: miniscule sample of flesh of hand

Observations:

- thin white and trace vermilion (with a little yellowish glaze pigment incorporated) (see pdf for image)

  • analysed by Ashok Roy

24.04.1995Technical examination / Scientific analysis

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

Sample No.: 1

Sample location: lower right-hand side

Brief description of paint: traces of 'mordant' gilding from frame – probably original.

Observations:

- yellow translucent mordant gilding

EDX spectrum of mordant Si, Ca, Fe (Al, Pb, Cl, K, Cu)

  • analysed by Ashok Roy

1995Technical Examination

Framing

'There is no evidence that the frame is not original but its construction and the presence of small patches of unpainted ground rather than broken ’barbe’ at the upper and lower edges indicate that the frame was assembled around the panel after it was painted and not before the application of the ground and the paint layers as was usually the case in the fifteenth century.'

[National Gallery Examination and Conservation Report 1995 (unpublished)]

1994Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Micro-sampling / cross-sections
  • Instrumental material analysis
  • Infrared reflectography

Support

- the support is a softwood panel. An examination to establish the species was not possible as the painting is fixed in the original frame. The wood is of high quality. It is a fine-grained wood, which does not exhibit any knots in the x-radiograph. The panel consists of three planks joined in the shortest direction of expansion (horizontal).

- the widths of the planks are c. 13.8 cm, 17.5 cm and 13 cm (12.8 cm)

- there is no reinforcement visible along the joins. The reverse has a very smooth finish. The edges of the panel are straight. The format of the panel has not been altered.

Ground and Imprimatura

- the ground layer on the recto is white and relatively thinly applied

- there are numerous tiny bubbles in the chalk ground, which were sanded down. These appear consistently white in the x-radiograph and must therefore be filled with paint containing lead

- the barbe is preserved on all four sides, but is pronounced to a varying degree

- with respect to the imprimatura examination achieved the following results: ‚The tiny, sanded down bubbles in the chalk ground are filled with a medium that absorbs x-rays, and which is irrespective of the colour of the paint. This observation suggests an isolating layer with lead-containing oil or an imprimatura containing lead. In the cross-section (of the sample taken from the edge) an imprimatura could not be verified.’

Underdrawing

- an underdrawing could not be detected employing infrared reflectography

Paint Layers and Gilding

- the flesh paint contains primarily lead white and relatively coarse vermilion (A. Roy, verbal communication). The flesh paint was applied with an initial pale flesh coloured tone and subsequently modulated with brown glazes. The highlights employing an admixture of white, red, single blue pigments and possibly some black were applied in part over the brown glaze and were then again shaded with greyish brown glazes. (This multiple layer structure is particularly visible in the area of the eyelids.)

- in the black and green areas of the painting a brush of c. 5 mm in width was employed

Framing

- original frame (mortise and tenon frame) with a steeply sloped rainsill. The dimensions of the frame are 49.3 x 38.6 cm. The members are 3.8 to 3.9 cm wide and 3.0 cm deep. The frame has a double mortise and tenon join.

- both panels are held together with the original iron hinge

- Coatings: the flat edge, the side edges and the reverse are black; the flute and the inner edge or the bottom champfer are gilded over a white ground and a yellowish or ocher coloured mordent. The mordent covers the background in places. According to a verbal communication by Ashok Roy the mordent on the frame is the same as that on the background and contains large quantities of Si (silicon), quantities of Fe (iron) and Ca (calcium) and some lead.’

[Gunnar Heydenreich, Examination Report, 1994 (unpublished)]

1974Technical Examination

Framing

The frame exhibits the same profile and finish as that of Cranach’s portrait of Christoph Scheurl from 1509.

[see Koepplin, Falk, Exhib. Cat Basel 1974,Vol. 2, No. 596, 597]

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

Media analysis:

- results in the documentation file

[Susan Foister, National Gallery London, 12.05.2011]

  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph

Condition Reports

Date2016

The panels and frames have suffered worm damage, but are otherwise in good condition. The dull yellow paint on the frames is the exposed mordant or adhesive for the original gilding; only traces of gold leaf remain. The paint of NG6538 is in excellent condition, with only a few tiny flake losses. There may be some fading of a red lake pigment in the flesh paint of the sitter's hands. NG6539 has more small losses, from the green paint of the sitter's costume, along the grain of the wood, but is still in very good condition.

[Susan Foister, 'Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johann the Steadfast and Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous' published online 2015, from 'The German Paintings before 1800', London: forthcoming.

www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/research/lucas-cranach-the-elder-portraits-of-johann-the-steadfast-and-johann-friedrich-the-magnanimous]

Date23.02.1995

Support:

The panel and frame are of the same construction as NG 6538 and are similar in condition. In addition, the centre of the upper moulding of the frame has been splintered and damaged by a screw or nail driven in from the back.

Paint and ground: The paint and ground are also in similar condition to NG 6538 but with no sign of current blistering. However there are scattered small flake losses from the thick green paint of the costume. The discoloration of the final 'copper resinate' glazes is rather patchy and uneven and they may have been damaged slightly in a past cleaning.

Surface coating:

The painting has the same varnish and surface dirt layers as NG 6538.

Treatment proposed:

Remove surface dirt and discoloured varnish and retouchings. Consolidate and repair the frame. Revarnish and retouch where necessary.

[Examination made by Jill Dunkerton, 23 Feb 1995].

  • examined by Jill Dunkerton

Date1990

'The diptych has been preserved within the context of its original structure.`

[Dülberg 1990, 188]

Conservation History

Date03. 1995 - 07. 1995

Cleaned and restored by Jill Dunkerton, frame consolidated by Clare Keller

Detailed report:

The cleaning proceeded as in NG 6538, only here the retouching was found to be more discreet, limited mainly to the small flake losses along the grain of the panel. The same difference in paint texture and colour between the face and hands was apparent and so again a thin layer of probable surface dirt was left. The painting is equally well-preserved and painted with even greater speed and vigour: the corners are almost missed by the green glaze, in a gap between the twisted links of the chain no glaze was ever applied, leaving a triangle of pale green, and some of the black paint of the pentimento filling in the area between the sleeve and body barely covers the underlying green.

For the treatment of the frame see NG 6538. The disruption in the centre of the upper edge was found to be caused by an old and possibly original nail and so it was decided not to attempt its removal.

The restoration was carried out in the same way and using the same materials as NG 6538. Again care was taken not to reduce by retouching any of the vitality of the brushwork.

[Report by Jill Dunkerton, 5 July 1995]

  • conservation treatment by Jill Dunkerton

Date1948

  • 1948 cleaned

[Koepplin, Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974]

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
<author's name>, 'Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6539/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})
Entry with no author
'Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous from Diptych: Two Electors of Saxony', <title of document, data entry or image>. [<Date of document, entry or image>], in: Cranach Digital Archive, https://lucascranach.org/en/UK_NGL_6539/ (Accessed {{dateAccessed}})

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