CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Virgin and Child with Grapes

Oil on limewood, 50 x 34 cm
Private collection

Virgin and Child with the Grapes, the Grapes symbolising the Eucharist and Christ's passion, was a subject, which was to inspire the artist throughout his long career. In the present variant the Christ Child stands in a heroic pose inspired by Italian High Renaissance prototypes, rather than seated in his mother's lap. The background is closed off, pushing the figures of the Virgin and Child to the front of the picture plane and investing the composition with a particular immediacy. This treatment of the subject was to provide the prototype for a number of pictures produced in the Cranach workshop in the late 1530s and 1540s all of which date from after 1537.