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Four Dead Partridges

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Luke the Evangelistc. 1530–32

Renaissance and Reformation. German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach

Renaissance and Reformation. German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach

This nature study by Cranach belongs to a portfolio of drawings of birds and game animals among the models to be used in his workshop. Its charms are its naturalistic depiction and plasticity. The drawing belongs to the tradition of hunting still lifes, a genre known only since Jacopo de’ Barbari. Before Cranach became court painter to Frederick the Wise in 1505, de’ Barbari had been active for the Saxon elector since 1503. His painting of a partridge, gauntlets, and a crossbow bolt of 1504 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek) is regarded as the earliest surviving still life of the modern era. Cranach’s partridges appear as symbols of sensual love in the paintings Hercules and Omphale (formerly Munich, Kunsthandel Scheidwimmer) and The Payment (see fig. 11, p. 39) of 1532.

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  • Title: Four Dead Partridges
  • Creator: Lucas Cranach the Elder
  • Date Created: c. 1530–32
  • Physical Dimensions: 45 × 32.1 cm
  • Technique and Material: Brush with watercolors and gouache, white heightening, over a brush preliminary drawing in gray
  • Provenance: Old inventory, first listed in the inventory in 1865
  • Museum: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett
  • Inv.-No.: C 1193
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-845516
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/de/museen-institutionen/residenzschloss/kupferstich-kabinett/
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett/ Herbert Boswank; 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. 90 / Claudia Schnitzer
  • Catalogue: https://prestelpublishing.randomhouse.de/book/Renaissance-and-Reformation/Stephanie-Buck/Prestel-com/e504919.rhd
  • Artist Dates: 1472 Kronach–1553 Weimar
  • Artist Biography: Cranach, whose name derived from his birthplace, Kronach, was presumably trained by his father. Around 1502 Cranach was staying in Vienna, where he produced his first documented works. In 1504 Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony called him to his court in Wittenberg, where Cranach would head a very large, extremely productive workshop. The Cranach factory was active in prints as well as paintings. His many portraits of Martin Luther—the Cranach and Luther families were close friends—and his altarpieces with decidedly Reformist programs made Cranach and his memorable style the epitome of Protestant visual culture. Nevertheless, Cranach was also active for Luther’s adversaries, such as Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg.

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