This catalogue was published for the exhibition Cranach and his Time presented at musée du Luxembourg from 7 February to 23 May 2011.
To mark the European opening of the Musée du Luxembourg’s programme dedicated to the Renaissance, the museum is reopening with an exhibition on Lucas Cranach (circa1472-1553), one of the major artists of the German Renaissance. This prolific, versatile painter whose career spanned the first half of the 16th century, is still somewhat unknown to the French public, who have not had an opportunity for some time to discover the breadth of his work. The Musée du Luxembourg’s exhibition, Cranach and his time, provides a better understanding of this artist’s place in the history of art and his involvement in the society of his time, a period marked by major political and religious upheavals.
The exhibition starts by showing the European dimension of Lucas Cranach’s art, which was not only influenced by the works of Dürer, whose engravings were widely disseminated, but also by Flemish and Italian artists. To highlight these influences, the exhibition compares paintings, drawings and engravings by Cranach with the works of other artists. It devotes a significant section to his travels, which were facilitated by his appointment in 1505 as official court painter to Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, in Wittenberg. In addition to the artistic commissions of his patron, Cranach was entrusted with diplomatic missions that played a crucial role in his rise to prominence.