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

Portrait of the Jurist's Wife

Oil and tempera on wood, 53 x 36 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

The sitter of this portrait is the wife of a Vienna University law professor. The pendant of this painting, representing the professor, is in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. Husband and wife are each flanked a sprouting and a dying tree. Significantly, the two healthy trees face each other, seen on the inner sides of the pendants when hung together. Their emblematic message suggests that only in each other's presence may this couple flourish.