CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)
Portrait of a Woman1526
Oil on wood, 89 x 59 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
As indicated by the Latin inscription in the cartouche that gives the date of the portrait, the subject was 20 years old. The composition, the turn of the figure, and the asymmetrical cropping of the arch give grounds for suggesting that originally this was a double portrait. If customary practice is a guide, the missing part of the painting may have been a depiction of the man's wife or bride-to-be.
The woman on this painting shows similarity to both Catherina von Bora, Luther's wife, and Sybilla, Princess of Saxony for whom Cranach had great respect. The same figure and face was used in the 1520s on several representations of Judith and Salome by Cranach.