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

Portrait of a Clean-Shaven Young Man

Oil and tempera on red beechwood, 59 x 41 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The painting has a companion piece depicting the Portrait of a Young Woman. Both half-length figures are placed close to the picture surface against a bright green background. The close attachment of the two people is suggested in their dress: they wear similar caps, his adorned with stitching, hers with a round agrafe. The freshness of the observation and the finesse of its realisation recall Netherlandish portraits of the period, such as hose of Joos van Cleve and Quentin Massys, for example.