Overview

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Studio of Lucas Cranach I (Kronach 1472-1553 Weimar)
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Studio of Lucas Cranach I (Kronach 1472-1553 Weimar)

Portrait of Barbara Duchess of Saxony (1471-1539)

Details
Studio of Lucas Cranach I (Kronach 1472-1553 Weimar)
Portrait of Barbara Duchess of Saxony (1471-1539)
with the serpent device (centre right)
oil on panel
13¾ x 9 in. (35 x 23 cm.)
Provenance
Professor Dr. Freiherr Friedrich Wilhelm von Bissing (1873-1956), Munich, circa 1910.
Daniel George van Beuningen (1877-1955), Vierhouten, Rotterdam.
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam.
Looted by the Nazi authorities, July 1940.
Recovered by the Allies, 1945.
in the custody of the Dutch Government.
Restituted in February 2006 to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker.
Literature
H. Nasse, 'Gemälde aus der Sammlung des Univ.-Professors Dr. Frei. Fr. W. von Bissing zu München', Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, 1910, p. 100.
M.J.Friedländer and J. Rosenberg, Die Gemälde von Lucas Cranach, Berlin, 1932, p. 91, no. 333, illustrated; reprinted London, 1978, pp. 152-3, no. 414, illustrated, as workshop.
Verslagen's Rijks verzamelingen van geschiedenis en kunst, The Hague, 1948, vol. 70, p. 113.
O. Ter Kuile, Catalogus van de Schilderijen, Rijksmuseum Twenthe Enschede, Enschede, 1974-6, pp. 42-3, no. 65, fig. 121.
C. Wright, Paintings in Dutch Museums. An Index of Oil Paintings in Public Collections in The Netherlands by Artists born before 1870, London, 1980, p. 86, as Lucas Cranach I.
Old Master Paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, Rijksdienst Beelende Kunst (The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts), The Hague, 1992, p. 73, no. 489, illustrated, as studio of Lucas Cranach I.
Exhibited
Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Hergewonnen Kunstbezit. Keuze-tentonstellung van uit Duitschland teruggevoerde Nederlandsche kunstschatten, 1946, no. 27.
Enschede, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, on loan.
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Lot Essay

Barbara, Duchess of Saxony (1478-1534) was the daughter of Casimir IV, King of Poland and Elisabeth of Austria. In 1496 she married George, Duke of Saxony (1471-1539), whose portrait was also painted by Cranach. Both appear as donors on two panels from an altarpiece in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection (see M.J. Friedländer and J. Rosenberg op. cit., 1978, no. 28, p. 74), probably dating from around 1508-10. The portrait of the Duchess in this work formed the basis of later depictions including the present work, which was executed by the workshop most probably after her death.

Their period of rule over Saxony came to be dominated by the dramatic events of the Reformation, and in the ensuing religious upheavel the Duke emerged as a staunch defender of the Catholic Church. His desire to see a Catholic heir succeed him as Duke was undermined by the early death of most of his children, and the marriage of his third daughter, Christine, to Philip of Hesse, a leading supporter of Luther.

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