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

Portrait of Margaret of Austria

Oil and tempera on red beechwood, 50 x 35 cm
Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie, Dessau

Margaret of Austria was one of the most significant female figures of the sixteenth century, and won the respect of his contemporaries by the conduct of her life and office (as the Governess-General and regent of the Netherlands. Her court painter Bernaert van Orley painted several official portraits of Margaret. Cranach's painting is based on van Orley, his source was, however, not one of the official portraits but a chalk drawing now in Berlin.

The painter depicts the sitter in a white hood in the Netherlandish style. The Governess of the Netherlands had adopted this form of dress in a modest acknowledgement of her widowhood.