Lucas Cranach the Elder
German, 1472-1553
Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Musée du Louvre
Selected exhibitions
Chefs-d’oeuvre de Budapest,
Musée du Luxembourg
Archaeology of Salvation. The Image of Christ in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,
Kunstmuseum Basel
Holbein. Cranach. Grünewald: Masterpieces from the Kunstmuseum Basel,
Kunstmuseum Basel

A prolific German Renaissance painter, and engraver, Lucas Cranach may have invented the full-length portrait. Cranach served as painter to the court of Frederick the Wise of Saxony in Wittenberg, where he specialized in portraits with bold compositions and strong colors. He was also responsible for decorative schemes around the court, as well as for tournaments and celebrations; the considerable demands of this work led him to open a workshop and to develop techniques and procedures of standardization that sped up the painting process. A close friend of Martin Luther, Cranach also supervised the printing of Luther’s pamphlets, painted altarpieces for Lutheran churches, and produced portraits of Protestant reformers and princes, as well as designing woodcuts for Luther’s translation of the New Testament.