Lucas Cranach the Elder, studio of - The Virgin and Child with John the Baptist
Lucas Cranach the Elder, studio of
The Virgin and Child with John the Baptist
Oil on hardwood. 37.5 x 29.5 cm.
This motif of a portrayal of the Virgin Mary with varying accompanying figures was among the most commonly painted works in Lucas Cranach's studio both prior to and after the Reformation. Three reference works for the following panel are known to exist today. One is a highly similar but slightly larger piece in private ownership which was included in the exhibition “Cranach der Ältere” in the Städel Museum in Frankfurt in 2008. Another is a work sold by Im Kinsky auction house in 2018 which was also very similar but slightly larger in dimension. The third can be found in the church of Opatów in Poland.
An investigation with infrared reflectography discovered an under-drawing done in black drawing medium and ink. The drawing was carried out with a steady hand in curving strokes, concentrating on the precise placement of the most important outlines and shapes. The outlines of the heads were further defined through the addition of polychromy.
The choice of materials and the painting technique allow this piece to be attributed to the studio of Lucas Cranach the Elder in Wittenberg, it would have been carried out by one of his employees some time between 1512 and 1514.
We would like to thank Prof. Gunnar Heydenreich of the Cranach Digital Archive (cda) and the Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences (CICS) of the Technical College of Cologne for confirming the authenticity of this piece through stylistic analysis upon first-hand examination and through technological investigation: Stereo microscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (Niton Xlt), UV analsysis, infrared reflectography (Osiris, 900–1700nm), and x-ray macrostructure analysis.
Prof. Dr. Gunnar Heydenreich (Cranach Digital Archive, Düsseldorf/Cologne and CICS, TH Köln), Dr. Stephanie Dietz (CICS, TH Köln) and Diana Blumenroth M.A. (CICS, TH Köln),1.10.2019
English private collection.