Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder - 1

  • Date of birth: 4 October 1472
  • Date of death: 16 October 1553
  • Country: Germany


The great German graphic artist and painter of the Renaissance Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in Kronach. It is called a true master of biblical and genre compositions, graphic and picturesque portraits. In his work he has managed to harmoniously synthesize the artistic principles of the Renaissance and Gothic traditions. Lucas Cranach the Elder is also considered one of the founders of the “Danube school”.

The cranes became famous very sophisticated style, which harmoniously combine landscape and figures. Cranach was the court painter of Frederick the Wise in Wittenberg – elector of Saxony, headed a large workshop, and remained a friend of Luther and a supporter of the ideas of Reformatsii.

The exact date of the birth of Cranach the Elder is not installed. It is assumed that 4 Oct. Also unknown and the exact name of his father – in Kronach, he worked as an artist. Cranes from birth bore the name of Sunder, and only later it became known as Lucas. As a surname he took the name of his native city, which is pronounced as Taps.

The researchers suggest that fine art Cranach originally trained father. From an early age the artist began to travel through Germany in search of his calling. In 1493 he went to Palestine, in 1501, in Vienna, where he remained until 1504. His first known paintings date to the Vienna period. It was then that he signed “Lucas Cranach”.

In 1508, Cranach became a nobleman. In the same year he arrived in the Netherlands. There he led an artistic workshop where there were about ten assistants. Besides, he has combined painting and administrative work with the book trade. Gradually he became the most wealthy burgher of Wittenberg, several times elected mayor of the city.

As already mentioned, the Cranes were a supporter of the reformation. He was engaged in illustrating Protestant pamphlets, several times painted portraits of Luther, his friend, and was also involved in financing the publishing of the Bible Luther translated it into German.

In early works of Cranach reflects explicit innovation intentions – with their help, he expressed the contradictions of the age in which he lived. In portrait the artist has achieved a huge mastery just at the moment when he became court painter.His work depicts many well-known contemporaries. Remarkably, he did not idealize their customers, although always treated them with sympathy, but without much admiration.