The Holy Trinity was a motif Cranach painted frequently as the upper element of an altarpiece. This semicircular panel painting depicts God the Father seated with his dying Son in his arms; the white dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. This type of depiction of the Trinity is known as a Gnadenstuhl (Throne of Grace). This painting once crowned a carved Marian altarpiece from the church in Ehrenberg, near Neustadt in Saxony.


  • Title: The Holy Trinity
  • Creator: Lucas Cranach the Elder
  • Date Created: c. 1515–20
  • Physical Dimensions: 83 × 136 × 10 cm
  • Technique and Material: Fir
  • Provenance: C. 1882 to Sächsischer Altertumsverein; after 1973 to the Skulpturensammlung
  • Museum: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Skulpturensammlung
  • Inv.-No.: SAV 2200
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-845610
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/de/museen-institutionen/albertinum/skulpturensammlung/index.html
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Skulpturensammlung, Sächsischer Altertumsverein/ 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. 17 / Roland Enke
  • 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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