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

The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

c. 1516
Oil and tempera on limewood, 68 x 47 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Signed at bottom left with a winged serpent, the artist's sign.

The works of Lucas Cranach the Elder are as varied and full of incident as was his career as an artist. As a young man, he lived and worked in Vienna from 1500 to 1503, the period when he came in contact with the Danube School, whose development was much influenced by his own work. After 1505 he worked as court painter to Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony in Wittenberg, and in this citadel of the German Reformation he established and directed a large and busy workshop. In addition to altarpieces and religious pictures he painted mythological subjects, genre scenes and portraits, as well as executed a considerable body of graphic work.

The black wall on the left side of this painting is the result of a later repainting, presumably a curtain was there originally. The decorated garments of the saints (Margaret, Catherine, Dorothy and Barbara) give an earthly character of the religious subject.