Notes on German Culture

Cranach’s Portrait of a Beardless Man in 1500 was widely used on German currency in 1960s

Lucas Cranach the Elder …1472 to 1553… was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving. He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. He embraced the Protestant cause with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther. 

Cranach’s Portrait of a Beardless Man…this image was widely used on German currency in mid 20th century, … on the popular 10 Deutsche Mark notes issued in 1960
The original Portrait of a Beardless Man… painted in 1500
Portrait of a young lady in the Electorate of Saxony
Elisabeth of Saxony, daughter of August, Elector of Saxony and Anna of Denmark, a daughter of King Christian III of Denmark. Even after 7 children her marriage deteriorated so much that in October 1589, she was arrested and accused of adultery and attempting to murder her husband. She died in prison at age 37.

He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art. He continued throughout his career to paint nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion. He had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions. His son, Lucas Cranach the Younger, continued to create versions of his father’s works for decades after his death.

Portrait of Martin Luther …Cranach was a close friend of Martin Luther

The Ill-Matched Couple, a somewhat humerous jab at the age old preference of older men for younger women. Painted in 1532 by Lucas Cranach the Elder, the image portrays a rich older man leering at his young wife while she in turn is delighted to accept his bag of coins.
Portrait of 78 year old Lucas Cranach the Elder by his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1550

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