The two portraits were commissioned at the request of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tirol by Elector Augustus of Saxony in June 1578, along with five other paintings as pendants, from Lucas Cranach the Younger in Wittenberg. Earlier portraits studies by the Cranach workshop were probably used to depict the prince, who had died either thirty-one or twenty-four years earlier. They were intended to represent the transfer of the rank of elector that followed victory in the Battle of Mühlberg in 1547. For that reason, too, victorious Moritz was depicted in precious armor while his older but defeated cousin, John Frederick, was in simpler, old-fashioned armor. The portraits of the two opponents in armor were not transferred to Innsbruck but remained in Saxony for reasons unknown.


  • Title: Elector Moritz of Saxony
  • Creator: Lucas Cranach the Younger
  • Date Created: 1578
  • Physical Dimensions: 121.5 × 93 cm
  • Technique and Material: Oil on Canvas
  • Provenance: Probably since being painted at Schloss Torgau; since 1670 in the Kunstkammer (Inventory of the Kunstkammer after 1732)
  • Museum: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Rüstkammer
  • Inv.-No.: H 74
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-845714
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/de/museen-institutionen/residenzschloss/ruestkammer/
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Rüstkammer/ Elke Estel, Hans-Peter Klut; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; cat. no. 48 / Dirk Syndram
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: 1515 Wittenberg–1586 Wittenberg
  • Artist Biography: The painter was trained in his father’s workshop, which he ran successfully after Lucas Cranach the Elder left Wittenberg (following his employer, John Frederick of Saxony, into exile). In many cases, clear separation of their oeuvres is only possible in the late work. Like his father before him, Cranach the Younger held respected political offices in Wittenberg.

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