Cranach’s Virgin and Child with a Bunch of Grapes (an earlier variation on the theme is in Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza) from the collection of the legendary Fugger family of bankers in Augsburg does not just illustrate an intimate relationship of mother and child: the grapes allude to the sacrament of the Eucharist and hence to the sacrifice of Christ’s death, which lends this devotional image a symbolic dimension that was equally relevant to Catholics and Protestants.


  • Title: The Virgin and child with a Bunch of Grapes
  • Creator: Lucas Cranach the Elder
  • Date Created: c. 1525
  • Physical Dimensions: 60 × 42 cm
  • Technique and Material: Oil on beech
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1824 as a gift from King Max I Joseph of Bavaria
  • Museum: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Alte Pinakothek
  • Inv.-No.: 1023
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-096417
  • External Link: https://www.pinakothek.de/besuch/alte-pinakothek
  • Copyright: Photo © Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München / Julia Schambeck; 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. 21 / Andreas Plackinger
  • 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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