Lucas Cranach the Younger, studio of
Portrait of Philipp Melanchthon
Oil on panel. 51 x 34.5 cm.
Signed and dated centre right: 1561, with winged snake motif.
This work is dated 1561, around one year after Philipp Melanchton's death. It depicts the church reformer as a half-length figure with an opened book. A short biography of the theologian and some of his aphorisms are written in Latin at the base of the work. Lucas Cranach and his workshop painted several versions of this composition, and around 8 to 10 comparable works exist. Posthumous portraits of this kind continued to be painted until the 1580s (for example the work in the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, 1579; and Meißen Cathedral, 1581). The present work is one of the first in the series.
We would like to thank Prof. Gunnar Heydenreich, Cologne, for his technical analysis of the support, underdrawing, and painted surface of this piece, which allowed him to attribute it to the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Younger.
Dr. Otto H. Förster, Cologne 13th August 1951 (as a work of Lukas Cranach the Younger).
Analysis report of the CICS- Institut, Cologne (Prof. Gunnar Heydenreich), March 2018.
Private collection, South Germany.