CRANACH, Lucas the Younger
(b. 1515, Wittenberg, d.1586, Weimar)
German painter and designer of woodcuts, son of Lucas Cranach the Elder. His work was so closely modelled on that of his father that distinguishing the late style of Lucas the Elder from the early works of his son remains in most cases hypothetical. Having first been his father’s pupil and assistant, he remained in the workshop his entire career. His responsibilities increased over the 1530s, especially after the death of his older brother Hans in 1537. Lucas the Younger became the de facto head of the workshop in 1550, when his father left Wittenberg to join the deposed Saxon elector John Frederick in Augsburg. On his father’s death in 1553, he became sole proprietor and chief artist of this family enterprise.
In 1541 he married Barbara Brück, the daughter of the electoral chancellor, Gregor Brück. Widowed in 1550, he then married Magdalene Schurff (d 1606), a niece of Melanchthon, the following year. Lucas the Younger also followed his father’s footsteps into high civic office. From 1549 through 1568 he served on the Wittenberg city council, rising first to chancellor and then to burgomaster. Although he continued to receive many commissions from Saxon princes, unlike his father he did not enjoy the advantages of a court appointment, since John Frederick lost the electoral territory of Wittenberg in 1547, when he and the League of Schmalkalden were defeated by Emperor Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg. Still, Lucas the Younger remained one of the richest citizens of the city, according to his taxable property in 1573.