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Lucas the Younger Cranach

 (1515 - 1586)
Lucas the Younger Cranach was active/lived in Germany.  Lucas Cranach is known for portraits, allegorical and mythical scene painting, woodcuts.

Lucas the Younger Cranach

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Lucas the Younger Cranach
Cranach II was a painter and designer of woodcuts, and son of Lucas Cranach I. His work was so closely modelled on that of his father that distinguishing the late style of Lucas I from the early works of his son remains in most cases hypothetical. Having first been his father's pupil and assistant, he remained in the workshop his entire career. His responsibilities increased over the 1530s, especially after the death of his older brother Hans in 1537. Lucas II became the de facto head of the workshop in 1550, when his father left Wittenberg to join the deposed Saxon elector John Frederick in Augsburg. On his father's death in 1553, he became sole proprietor and chief artist of this family enterprise.

In 1541 he married Barbara Brück, the daughter of the electoral chancellor, Gregor Brück. Widowed in 1550, he then married Magdalene Schurff (d 1606), a niece of Melanchthon, the following year. Lucas the younger also followed his father's footsteps into high civic office. From 1549 through 1568 he served on the Wittenberg city council, rising first to chancellor and then to burgomaster. Although he continued to receive many commissions from Saxon princes, unlike his father he did not enjoy the advantages of a court appointment, since John Frederick lost the electoral territory of Wittenberg in 1547, when he and the League of Schmalkalden were defeated by Emperor Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg. Still, Lucas II remained one of the richest citizens of the city, according to his taxable property in 1573.

Attributions to Lucas II from the 1530s and 1540s depend on stylistic connections to his work from and after 1550, when he was in sole charge of the workshop. The Portrait of a Nobleman and the Portrait of a Noblewoman (1564; both Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum), for example, bear the familiar traits of the Saxon Cranach style but may be distinguished from Lucas I's work by the degree of rosy complexions, lighter tonalities, smooth but colouristically softened surfaces, sharp silhouettes and frozen positions, which invite recognition of the same hand in the portraits of Caspar von Minckwitz and Anna von Minckwitz (1543; both Stuttgart). Increasingly these portraits emphasize social standing at the expense of conveying individual character.

Opinions still remain divided, however, on whether the painting of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1550; Florence, Uffizi) is a self-portrait by the 77-year-old father or a likeness of the father by the son. A similar disagreement exists over the attribution of the 15 vivid portrait drawings of aristocratic sitters (c. 1540; Reims, Musee St-Denis); these tempera and oil studies on paper provided models for the workshop to use many times over, varying costume and format as required. Those who believe that all fifteen portraits, not just three of them, are by Lucas II also attribute to him the similar drawing of a Bearded Man (Berlin). Efforts to shift the attribution of the Fountain of Youth (1546; Berlin, Gemäldegallerie) from father to son (Hartlaub) are generally rejected on stylistic grounds.

Two signed panels with scenes of Hercules in Combat against an Army of Dwarfs (1551; both Dresden, Gemäldegallerie, Alte Meister) count among Lucas II's earliest authenticated, independent works. Painted for the new elector, Maurice of Saxony, they show the younger artist's predisposition for large paintings (each panel, c.1.9×1.6 m) and his ready access to commissions from the rival, Albertine house of Saxony, which received the electoral title after the defeat of the Cranach family's Protestant patron John Frederick. As a memorial to John Frederick, however, and as a confession of the new faith, he painted a large triptych (central panel, 3.6×3.11 m, 1555; Weimar, SS Peter and Paul), showing the former Elector and his wife on one of the flanking wings and their three sons on the other. In the centre panel Christ on the Cross divides the foreground between Christ vanquishing the devil on the left and John the Baptist standing under the cross in the company of Lucas Cranach the elder and Martin Luther on the right. In the absence of traditional religious painting for Protestant churches, Lucas the younger continued to receive commissions for memorial pictures in which the reformers appeared in biblical scenes, such as the Last Supper (1565; Dessau-Mildensee, Parish Church), a memorial to Joachim of Anhalt, in which Prince George of Anhalt appears alongside Luther and Melanchthon, among others, in place of the Apostles.

Lucas II also continued to meet the demand for replications of images made popular by his father, such as portraits of the reformers, religious allegories and Classical themes. These were often small panels, such as the Allegory of the Law and the Gospel (c. 1550; private collection, see 1974-6 exh. cat., no. 355, fig.), based on the prototype of Lucas I (c. 1530; Gotha, Schloss Friedenstein), or the Adam and Eve (1549; private collection, see Friedländer and Rosenberg, 1978, no. 432), perhaps the earliest dated work by Lucas II. The moralizing and pseudo-Classical theme of the Nymph of the Spring exists in no fewer than 17 versions, of which at least one (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art) bears the traits of Lucas the younger's hand.

The hand of the younger Lucas may also be seen in woodcut book illustrations from as early as 1538 (1974-6 exh. cat., no. 277) and certainly no later than the following year when Fabian von Auerswald's Ringer Kunst (Wittenberg, 1539) was published with its 85 illustrations of wrestling positions plus the author's portrait on the title-page. Lucas II also contributed illustrations to two editions of Luther's translation of the Bible in 1541, one published by Hans Lufft in Wittenberg and the other by Nikolaus Wolrab in Leipzig. His single-leaf woodcuts, like the title-page of the Wittenberg Bible, include several Protestant allegories. One of these (Geisberg, no. 653) from c. 1546 represents Luther in a pulpit pointing on his right to a Protestant celebration of the Eucharist and on his left to the Catholic clergy's descent into Hell's maw. Unlike many polemical prints of the period, these by Lucas are carefully designed and executed. He also published full- and half-length woodcut portraits of reformers and Saxon princes, notable for the precision and clarity of their draughtsmanship.
Cranach II is represented in the following collections: Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Kunsthistorisches Museum Databank, Vienna; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chi-Mei Museum, Taiwan; Dresden State Art Collections, Dresden; State Museums of Berlin; Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, amongst others.

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Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Lucas the Younger Cranach

The following was written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California:

Lucas Cranach the Younger was born in 1515.  He was a pupil of his father, Lucas Cranach the Elder.  Very often he drew clothes and accessories on his father's pictures.  In the mid-1530s he began to play an increasingly important role in his father's workshop, and took it over after his death.  He was as successful as his father, though he never achieved his artistic greatness.  Because he adopted his father's late style, there have been problems with distinguishing some of the works.

Many historians of art consider his works less emotional and spontaneous than those of his father.  His best works include portraits and simple versions of allegorical and mythical scenes.  He died in 1586.

From the internet, Olga's Gallery

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About  Lucas the Younger Cranach

Born:  1515 - Wittenberg, Germany
Died:   1586 - Weimar, Germany
Known for:  portraits, allegorical and mythical scene painting, woodcuts