The Holy Kinship (so-called "Torgau Altarpiece"), Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
The Holy Kinship (so-called "Torgau Altarpiece")
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This work consits of multiple parts

Lucas Cranach the Elder

The Holy Kinship (so-called "Torgau Altarpiece"), 1509


Mitteltafel
121.1 x 100.4 x min. 0.5 cm
maximum depth
0.5 cm
Linker Flügel
120.5 x 45.2 x min. 0.9 cm
maximum depth
0.9 cm
Rechter Flügel
120.7 x 45.4 x min. 0.9 cm
maximum depth
0.9 cm
Physical Description
Mixed technique on limewood
Inventory Number
1398
Acquisition
Acquired in 1906 with funds provided by Carl Schaub-Stiftung, Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V., the city of Frankfurt am Main, and donations
Status
On display

Texts

About the Work

This triptych was one of Cranach’s first major commissions as court painter to the elector of Saxony in Wittenberg. It treats the popular subject of the ‘Holy Kinship’, the legendary relationship between the Virgin and the mothers of some of the apostles. Disguised within the sacred motif is a political declaration by the Saxon rulers, who have lent their features to the two men shown on the wings. Frederick the Wise and John the Constant thus express their loyalty to Emperor Maximilian, who appears as one of Anna’s husbands in the gallery in the central picture.

About the Donation

Among the earliest major commissions which Lucas Cranach the Elder carried out in 1509 as court painter to the Electorate of Saxony was the so-called Torgau Altar. The altar was acquired with the help of several sponsors in 1906 at the auction of the Molinier Collection in Paris. The money required to secure this magnificent work for Frankfurt was provided jointly by the City of Frankfurt, private art lovers, the Städelscher Museums-Verein and the recently founded Carl Schaub'sche Stiftung. For Cranach researchers, its arrival at the museum was a small sensation: although the altar clearly bore the signature of the master himself, the work was previously unknown in the relevant literature on the artist.

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  • 01:00
    Basic information
  • 01:11
    Focus on cultural history

Work Data

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum
Acquisition
Acquired in 1906 with funds provided by Carl Schaub-Stiftung, Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V., the city of Frankfurt am Main, and donations

Work Content

Iconclass

Primary
  • 73A22 Holy Kinship
  • 11H(SIMON)2 the apostle Simon Zelotes (or Simon the Canaanite); possible attributes: book, saw, scroll - early life of male saint
  • 11H(JUDE THADDAEUS)2 the apostle Jude Thaddaeus; possible attributes: book, club, halberd, scroll - early life of male saint
  • 11F7152 Christ-child accepting, reaching out for something ~ Madonna-representations
  • 11HH(MARY KLEOPHAS) Mary Kleophas, sister of the Virgin Mary, mother of James the Less ('Maria Jacobi'); possible attributes: jar of ointment
  • 11H(ALPHÄUS) male saints (ALPHÄUS)
  • 31A231 standing figure
  • 11H(JAMES THE LESS)2 the apostle James the Less, first bishop of Jerusalem; possible attributes: book, fuller's club, scroll - early life of male saint
  • 42A31 nursing, suckling
  • 11H(JOSEPH BARSABBAS)2 male saints (JOSEPH BARSABBAS) - early life of male saint
  • 31A2351 sitting on the ground
  • 49N reading
  • 11HH(MARY SALOME) Mary Salome, sister of the Virgin and mother of James the Great and John the Evangelist, also one of the midwives; possible attributes: jar of ointment
  • 11I72(ZEBEDEE) male persons from the New Testament (ZEBEDEE) (ZEBEDEE)
  • 31A235 sitting figure
  • 11H(JOHN)2 the apostle John the Evangelist; possible attributes: book, cauldron, chalice with snake, eagle, palm, scroll - early life of male saint
  • 11H(JAMES THE GREAT)2 the apostle James the Great; possible attributes: book, pilgrim's cloak, hat, shell, staff, and wallet, scroll, sword - early life of male saint
Secondary
Associative

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Last import

11.06.2019