Museums and Art

Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1509

Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1509

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Portrait of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous - Lucas Cranach the Elder. 42x31.2

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) (Lucas 3under, taking as his last name the name of his native city, which at that time was called Cranach) - German painter and graphic artist of the Renaissance, master of portraiture, genre and biblical compositions, court painter of the Saxon electors, supporter ideas of the Reformation and Luther's friend.

The presented portrait shows the eldest son Elector of Saxony Johann the Solid Johann Friedrich, later nicknamed the Magnanimous. He became Elector of Saxony in 1532 after the death of his father. The artist was in the service of the court and was the tutor of Johann Friedrich. In this portrait, the heir is only six years old, a boy with magnificent hair and a pretty face looks like a girl.

This work is paired with a portrait of his father (both paintings are exhibited at the National Gallery). However, this ratio of images of father and son is unusual. As a rule, portraits of representatives of one generation, such as spouses or brothers, were created in pairs; instead of a son, the wife of Johann the Solid and the mother of Johann Friedrich the Magnanimous, Sofia of Mecklenburg, should have been captured, but she died during childbirth.

After more than 20 years, Cranach will write a few more portraits of the Elector and remain faithful to him, even when he will be in disgrace with Emperor Charles V. However, in later works it is no longer possible to recognize that six-year-old boy.

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