Johann Christoph Ludwig Lücke belonged to a dynasty of sculptors, whose greatest achievements were in the field of ivory carving. It is still unclear whether he was the son of Carl August Lücke the Elder or of Ernst Friedrich, but was definitely the brother of Carl August Lücke the Younger. He was arguably the most distinguished member of the clan, although his inability to remain in the same place for more than a few years strongly suggests that he was a difficult character. He is first documented in 1728 at the porcelain factory in Meissen, and thereafter he was often to be associated with porcelain manufacture, in Dresden, Höchst, Fürstenberg, and Vienna. He also worked at a number of German courts, notably for the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and even spent some years in London.
Lücke's production was impressively wide-ranging, but it is above all as an almost satirically acerbic portraitist that he is most admired. The majority of these portraits, of which the profile relief of Friedrich Augustus, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, is a characteristic example, show the sitters half length (Theuerkauff, op. cit., pp. 194-197, no. 51). The present piece, in which the protagonist is carved in the round and shown full-length, is in every respect an unusually ambitious production, in which the almost sneering quality of the facial expression is wholly typical. He is represented trampling a snake-haired fury with wrinkled dugs holding what appears to be a heart under foot. The exceptionally full form of the signature is a rarity, not least since there was usually no room for it.
The identification of the sitter as Friedrich Christian, the son of Friedrich Augustus, is supported by comparison with portraits of him by Anton Raphael Mengs (D. Honisch, Anton Raphael Mengs und die Bildform der Frühklassizismus, Recklinghausen, 1965, figs. 7,9,11.).