Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Artist information: Lucas Cranach the Elder is famous as a German Renaissance artist, best known for his painting and prints in woodcuts and engravings. For most of his career he was court painter to the electors of Saxony, but is most famous for his portraits of non-royals. As a friend of Martin Luther and proponent of the Protestant Reformation, he also came to portray its leaders. His portrait of Martin Luther (1533) is iconic. He also painted religious subjects, initially in the Catholic tradition, later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran matters in art. His works thus reflect the progression of the Protestant Reformation. During his productive period, he completed around 5000 paintings, including 'Venus and Cupid' (1508) and numerous popular portraits. Particularly characteristic of his work is his handling of light and materiality. He also attained popularity for his secular and allegoric nudes, in which one frequently observes the body through transparent scarves, the typical attribute of Cranach's paintings.