Lucas Cranach the Younger

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Lucas Cranach the Elder J .: Epitaph Joachim von Anhalt (1565) in the church of St. Johannis in Dessau, the cupbearer on the right is shown as a self-portrait of Lucas Cranach the Elder. J. interpreted; so-called Dessau Last Supper

Lucas Cranach the Younger (born October 4, 1515 in Wittenberg ; † January 25, 1586 there ) was an important painter and portraitist of the Renaissance . He is the son of Lucas Cranach the Elder .


Parental home, apprenticeship and taking over the father's workshop

Sculpture of the Cranach snake in front of the New Town Hall in Kronach
Epitaph for Lucas Cranach the Elder J. and his two wives in the Wittenberg town church, 1608.

Cranach was born on October 4, 1515 as the youngest son of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Barbara Brengebier in Wittenberg. Together with his brother Hans (* around 1513; † October 9, 1537) he learned the art of painting from his father and initially worked together with his brother in his father's workshop.

After the death of his brother Hans, he took over the business activities in his father's workshop in 1537. Since then, Lucas Cranach the Elder has J. signed his works with a modified coat of arms. A woodcut by Johann Scheyring from 1537 appears for the first time. The coat of arms given to his father by the elector in 1508 shows a snake with bat wings, a red crown on its head and a golden ring in its mouth set with a ruby. In the sign of the younger Cranach, the snake now has a bird's wing.

Local political functions

His father in turn ceded the Wittenberg house to his son Lucas in 1544. Like his father, Lucas Cranach d. J. an important position in the public life of Wittenberg. In 1549 and 1552 he was a council member, 1555, 1558, 1561, 1564 as council chamberlain, 1565 as mayor and 1566 as former mayor, assessor of the mayor in the Wittenberg council. Because of the Handel against his brother-in-law Christian Brück , he withdrew from all political activities.


First marriage to Barbara Brück

On February 20, 1541, he married his first wife Barbara Brück (* around 1518 in Wittenberg; † February 10, 1550 there), a daughter of the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück . Four children emerged from this connection:

  • Lucas (* 1541; † February 16, 1612 in Meißen), he enrolled at the University of Wittenberg in 1554, was councilor in Torgau and from January 30, 1591 to January 9, 1609 administrator of the prince's school St. Afra in Meißen. He married Anna on October 17, 1570 in Wittenberg, daughter of the secretary Hieronymus Gareis.
    • Daughter Euphrosyna (* 1585 in Torgau; † August 6, 1627 in Wittenberg), married. 1604 with the electoral clerk Abel Volk (born July 26, 1575 - † January 19, 1622 in Wittenberg, son of Michael Volk from Dresden and his wife Esther née Sierbürger from Leipzig)
  • Barbara (* unknown; † 1601), married the doctor Johann Hermann on November 28, 1564
  • Johannes (* unknown; † May 1, 1548), died in childhood
  • Christian (* unknown; † April 7, 1556), died as a student (enrolled in 1554 UWB)

Second marriage to Magdalena Schurff

After Barbara's death, on May 24, 1551, he married Magdalena Schurff (born August 19, 1531 in Wittenberg; † January 3, 1606 there), a daughter of the Saxon personal physician Prof. Dr. Augustin Schurff and niece of Philipp Melanchthon . They had five children together:

  • Magdalena (* unknown; † 1554), died in childhood
  • Augustin (* 1554 - † July 26, 1595), followed his father as a painter, was also a council member, city judge and treasurer in Wittenberg. Married Maria Selfisch, daughter of Samuel Selfisch, on October 26, 1577
  • Agneta (* unknown; † 1560), died in childhood
  • Christoph (* around 1557; † February 23, 1596) was a councilor and married Subphrona (Veronika? * September 14, 1563; † April 29, 1629) Vogel on February 5, 1583
    • Lucas (born November 30, 1583; † unknown)
    • Christoph (born January 14, 1585; † unknown)
    • Barbara (born June 16, 1586; † unknown)
    • Ernst August (born January 22, 1588; † unknown)
    • Magdalene (born January 22, 1588; † unknown)
    • Christian (born October 10, 1590; † unknown)
  • Elisabeth (born December 3, 1561 in Wittenberg, † September 16, 1645 in Wittenberg); married to Polykarp Leyser the Elder


Lucas Cranach the Elder J. died on January 25, 1586 at the age of 70 in Wittenberg. His body was transferred to the Wittenberg town church and buried there on January 27th. His grave is in front of the gallery in the area of ​​the last southern pillar, where a memorial stone today commemorates him. His epitaph , which was donated to him and his two wives by the heirs, is in the chancel of the Wittenberg town church . It shows the burial of Christ. The two tablets on the left hold the memory of Lucas Cranach the Elder. J. and on the right that of his wives.


As a representative of a new generation, Lucas chose Cranach the Elder. J. prefers figurative, elaborate representations. The seemingly disordered compositions are surprisingly beautiful and the color treatment richer than the father's work. In Lucas Cranach the Younger's creative program, he was the creator of the new Protestant image program. With him the Blessed Mother Mary does not look chaste to the ground, but straight into the eyes of the beholder.

Meaning of his work

The assumptions made in the past that the younger Lucas Cranach played a subordinate role in the work of the Renaissance are definitely wrong. They are due to the fact that at the time of their appearance not all of the younger Cranach's works were known and could only be assigned to him in the course of intensive, more modern research. He therefore played a prominent role among the German portraitists of the late Renaissance and Mannerism . Extensive woodcut works expand the artist's work as a painter of the Reformation and the related effects.

On the occasion of his 500th birthday, the state of Saxony-Anhalt dedicated the state exhibition " Lucas Cranach the Younger 2015 " to the painter from June 16 to November 1, 2015 . It was the first special exhibition that looked at the life and work of Cranach and presented works of art that had never been shown. Exhibition locations were u. a. the Augusteum and the town church of St. Marien in Lutherstadt Wittenberg .



Jobst of Hayn (1543)
Agnes of Hayn (1543)
Portrait of a Man (1548)


  • "Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. "In the Uffizi Gallery in Florence , 1550 (possibly also self-portrait of the father)
  • "Hercules drives out the pygmies" in the picture gallery of Dresden , 1551
  • “The sleeping Hercules and the pygmies” in the picture gallery of Dresden, 1551
  • "Christ on the Cross" , altarpiece, City Church Weimar , 1555
  • “Allegory of Redemption”, epitaph for Johann Friedrich von Sachsen and his family, in the Weimar Herder Church, 1555
  • “The Resurrection of Christ” in Leipzig, 1557
  • "Der Auferstandene", epitaph for Gregor von Lamberg, in the city church of Wittenberg, 1558
  • "The awakening of Lazarus", epitaph for the mayor Michael Meyenburg , Nordhausen, Blasiikirche, 1558
  • "Philipp Melanchthon" in the Städelsche Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, 1559 (pictured here)
  • "Martin Luther" in the Städelschen Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, 1559 (pictured here)
Portrait of a Noble Lady , 1564


  • "The baptism of Jesus", epitaph for Johannes Bugenhagen , in the city church of Wittenberg, 1560
  • "Entombment of Christ" in the rectory Nischwitz / Sa, 1561
  • "Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane" in the Johanniskirche Dessau, 1561
  • “Joachim Ernst von Anhalt” in Halle , 1563
  • "Agnes von Anhalt" in Halle, 1563
  • "Portrait of a Noble Lady" in Vienna, 1564 (pictured here)
  • “Adoration of the Shepherds”, epitaph for Casper Niemegk, in the Wittenberg town church, 1564
  • "Prince Alexander of Saxony" in the picture gallery of Dresden, 1564
  • “Princess Elisabeth of Saxony” in the picture gallery of Dresden, 1564
  • "Electress Anna of Saxony" in the picture gallery of Dresden, 1564
  • "Georg Friedrich von Brandenburg-Ansbach-Bayreuth" in Potsdam , 1564
  • “Elector August of Saxony” in the picture gallery of Dresden, 1565
  • “Crucifixion of Christ”, epitaph for Sara Cracov, in the city church of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, 1565
  • The Last Supper ”, epitaph for Joachim von Anhalt, in the Johanniskirche Dessau , 1565
  • “Portrait of a 44-year-old man” in Prague , 1566
  • “Portrait of a 32-year-old woman” in Prague, 1566
  • "Christ on the Cross" in Mühlhausen, 1567 epitaph for Hieronymus Tilesius
  • "The Lord's Vineyard", epitaph for Paul Eber , in the city church of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, 1569
  • Epitaph for Bartholomäus Vogel in the city church of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, 1569


  • Elector Joachim II of Brandenburg in the Grunewald hunting lodge , Berlin , around 1570
  • Epitaph for Agnes von Anhalt in the monastery church Nienburg, 1570
  • Margrave Georg the Pious of Brandenburg-Ansbach ” (with drawn hat) in Berlin, 1571
  • "Margrave Georg the Pious of Brandenburg-Ansbach " (with hat on) in Berlin, 1571
  • “The good shepherd”, epitaph for the Drachstedt couple in the Wittenberg town church, 1573
  • "The Crucifixion of Christ" in Dresden, 1573
  • "Christ on the Mount of Olives", epitaph for Anna Hetzner in the Wittenberg town church (loan from the Dietrichsdorf church), 1575
  • "Elector Johann Friedrich" (in armor from the battle of Mühlberg) in Berlin, 1578
  • "Elector Johann Friedrich" (in everyday clothes) in Berlin, 1578
  • “Margarethe Elisabeth von Ansbach-Bayreuth” in Munich, 1579

From 1580

Hans von Lindau, 1581
  • "The Resurrection of Christ", epitaph for Michael Teubner (?) In Kreuzlingen , 1580
  • "Erich Volkmar von Berlepsch" in Klein Urleben , 1580
  • “Lucretia von Berlepsch” in Klein Urleben, 1580
  • "Hans von Lindau" in Ottendorf , 1581 (shown here)
  • Vineyard altar in Salzwedel , 1582
  • "The Crucifixion of Christ" from the Colditzer Altar in Nuremberg , 1584
  • “Blende des Paulus”, epitaph for Veit Oertel in the city church of Wittenberg, 1586
  • “Venus and Amor” in the Munich Pinakothek
  • "Elias and the Baal Priests" in Dresden
  • "Schneeberger Altar" in the St. Wolfgang Church in Schneeberg
  • Altar retable in the chapel of the Augustusburg hunting lodge


  • Theo Ludwig Girshausen:  Cranach, Lucas the Younger. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , pp. 398-400 ( digitized version ).
  • Paul G. Kettner: Historical news from the Raths-Collegio of the Chur-Stadt Wittenberg . Meisner Publishing House, Wolfenbüttel 1734
  • Peter Moser: Lucas Cranach. His life, his world and his pictures . Babenberg Verlag, Bamberg 2004, ISBN 3-933469-14-7
  • Nikolaus Müller: The finds in the tower knobs in Wittenberg . In: Journal of the Association for Church History in the Province of Saxony , vol. 8 (1912)
  • Herfried Münkler , Marina Münkler : Lexicon of the Renaissance . Beck Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52859-7
  • Werner Schade: The Cranach family of painters, Prisma-Verlag, Gütersloh 1985, ISBN 3-570-09018-3
  • Albrecht Steinwachs (text), Jürgen M. Pietsch (photos): St. Mary's town and parish church in Lutherstadt Wittenberg . Edition Akanthusa, Spröda 2000, ISBN 3-00-006918-6
  • Albrecht Steinwachs: The Lord's Vineyard. Epitaph for Paul Eber by Lucas Cranach the Elder J., 1569 . Edition Akanthus, Spröda 2001, ISBN 3-00-008905-5
  • Ernst Ullmann: History of German Art 1470–1550 . Seemann Verlag Leipzig 1985
  • Alfred Woltmann:  Cranach, Lucas . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 4, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1876, p. 562 f.
  • Elke A. Werner, Anne Eusterschulte, Gunnar Heydenreich: Lucas Cranach the Younger and the Reformation of Images. Verlag Hirmer, Munich, 2015, ISBN 978-3-7774-2368-5
  • Roland Enke, Katja Schneider, Jutta Strehle: Lucas Cranach the Younger. Discovery of a Master. Verlag Hirmer, Munich, 2015, ISBN 978-3-7774-2349-4

Web links

Commons : Lucas Cranach the Younger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files