The Cranachs and Medieval Modern Art | DocFilm | DW | 19.06.2015
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The Cranachs and Medieval Modern Art

Together they created a thriving business in art and immortalized Martin Luther in their works. A journey into the world of Lucas Cranach and his son.

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A crowned snake with bat wings and a ruby ​​ring in its mouth was their coat of arms. They worked as court painters and princes went in and out of their homes. In their workshop, they developed rapid painting techniques and standardized procedures to produce portraits and religious images like an assembly line.

Martin Luther Gemälde von Lucas Cranach

The Cranach were friends of Luther. Luther Cranach the Elder was a witness at his wedding to Katharina von Bora Luther.

In addition, they still ran printing presses, were paper wholesalers and, as mayors, directed the fortunes of the famous university town of Wittenberg. Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) and his son of the same name (1515-1586) were amongst the most versatile artists of the 16th century. Hardly anyone embodied the ideal of Renaissance man as well as they did. The Cranachs made no secret of their sympathy for the Reformation and turned to explicitly Protestant themes such as the redemption after the fall. Their portraits of Luther continue to shape our image of the famous reformer. The printing of Luther’s translation of the Bible was also down to the Cranachs. 2015 is Cranach Year, marking the 500th birthday of Lucas Cranach the Younger with major exhibitions in twelve central German cities.

22.05.2012 DW Welterbe Wittenberg Route 2

Lucas Cranach d. Ä. was appointed as Hofmeister to Wittenberg in 1505 and held on to that post for almost 50 years. His son was born in the university town.

DW is also taking the anniversary as an opportunity for a documentary. Author Peter Schlögl visited the places where the famous family of painters lived and worked, discovered the beauty of the Cranachs’ painting techniques and gained an insight into the current state of Cranach research and into many still unanswered questions and mysteries through the “Cranach Digital Archive.”

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