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Lucas Cranach d.J.

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Lucas Cranach d.J.

*  1515 Wittenberg
† 1586 Weimar


Lucas Cranach, who was given the sobriquet ”the Younger” in order to tell him from his father, counts among the most renowned Renaissance painters in the German language region and was born at Wittenberg in 1515. He was taught in arts by his father Lucas Cranach the Elder, who should have significant influence on his style. His son played a vital role in his workshop: When Hans Cranach, brother of Lucas Cranach the Younger, died in 1537, Lucas Cranach the Younger took over his position in the father´s workshop. Since then he also used a new emblem – the snake with bat wings was replaced by a snake with bird wings.
It seems that Lucas Cranach the Younger increased his influence within the Cranach workshop, as the production of paintings after 1537 delivers proof of. The numerous nudes made in the 1540s, showing, for instance, Venus, Adam and Eve or Nymphs, were made by the hands of Lucas Cranach the Younger.
Lucas Cranach the Younger captured his characteristic image of women in a light and soft tonality; what else is typical is the faces´ rose-colored flesh tint. Next to panel painting, Lucas Cranach the Younger was also occupied with woodcuts. In this field he made a lot of works that showed his support of the Reformation, just as it was the case with his panels of religious motifs. As far as they were concerned Lucas Cranach the Younger was a very traditional artist, however, with his lavishly adorned figure pieces he also was a representative of a new age. Lucas Cranach the Younger also gained importance as portraitist, it was for good reasons that he received commissions for portraits of noble families. In the mid 1560s Cranach´s transition to Mannerism became obvious in this field.
By this point Lucas Cranach the Younger had become fully established, both in the art scene as well as socially: He was in charge of the workshop, his father had set out for Augsburg, just a year after he had been elected councilman in Wittenberg (1549). In 1555 he was appointed chamberlain, ten years later he was mayor of Wittenberg.
Meanwhile Lucas Cranach the Younger got married a second time: After the death of his first wife Barbara (1550) he married Magdalena, a niece of Melanchthon, in 1551. All in all, Lucas Cranach the Younger had four sons and five daughters.
In 1586 Lucas Cranach the Younger died in Weimar.