Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Democratic Party to Or Kurland Courland >> Kronach

Kronach

john, frederick, cranach, lucas and painted

KRONACH, Lucas, THE ELDER, German painter and engraver, founder of the Sax on school: b. ICronach, Ger., 1472; d. Wei mar, 16 Oct. 1553. His family name is said to have been Muller, and the name by which he afterward called himself is said to have been taken from his birth place. In 1504 he became court painter to Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, and in 1508 he was ennobled. In 1509 he traveled through the Netherlands and at Malines painted the portrait of the future Emperor Charles V, then a child of nine years. In 1519 he was elected chairman of the town council; he be came burgomaster in 1537 and again in 1540. He was the intimate friend of Luther, of whom he painted various portraits, several of them still extant. After the death of the Elector Frederick he still remained attached to the Saxon court, for he received as much favor from Frederick's successors— John the Constant and John Frederick the Magnanimous. Cranach's por trait of the latter is contained in the New York Metropolitan Museum. After the battle of Miihlberg, in 1547, in which John Frederick was taken prisoner by the troops of Charles V. Cranach showed his attachment for his master by following him from prison to prison until in 1552 he was set at liberty, when he returned with Cranach at his side to Weimar. He en graved both on copper and wood, and also illuminated manuscripts, and was remarkable for his rapidity of execution. His smaller cuts are by far superior in drawing and detail. He devoted many of his engravings to subjects of value to the Reformation. His work was original, realistic and rich in its nationalism. He painted a large number of Madonnas, per haps the most celebrated of which are to be seen in the cathedral of Glogau and the Pinakothek of Munich. Another favorite subject with him

was Christ blessing the little children, a good specimen of which is in the Baring collection in London. Perhaps the most beautiful of his paintings on this subject is contained in the city church of Naumburg. Of his larger re ligious paintings, good examples are the 'Mar of Saint Catharine' in the cathedral of Erfurt, and his last great work in the town church at Weimar, 'The Crucifixion,' depicting the object of the Reformation, and introducing the figures of Luther and Cranach himself. He excels in portrait painting, but although these show a mastery of detail, they lack the great strength and spirit of the German masters. They have a dry uniformity, a false idea of elegance, which, added to his desire to amuse, heighten the comic effect. Among the best are 'Cardinal Albrecht of Mainz as Saint Jerome' in the Berlin Museum; 'John Frederick of Saxony,' and an 'Unknown Female' in the National Gallery, London. He painted many miniatures, as in the album of the University of Wittenberg, now at Halle, and especially in John Frederick's 'Book of Tourneys' now at Coburg, a work of 144 pictures. Consult Heller, Was Leben und die Werke Lucas Cranachs' (2d ed., 1844) ; Schuchardt, 'Lucas Cranach des alteren Leben und Werke> (1851-61) ; Dodgson in 'Bib liotheque des bibliographies critiques' (Paris) ; Fleschig, 'Tafelbilder Lucas Cranaches die Al teren; Cranach Studien> (Leipzig 1900) • and the monographs by Warnecke (Garlitz 1879) ; Lin dau (Leipzig 1883) ; and Michaelson (ib. 1902).