CRANACH, Lucas the Younger
(b. 1515, Wittenberg, d. 1586, Weimar)

Christ Blessing the Children

Oil on beech panel, 15 x 21 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The New Testament stories of Christ and the Adulteress and Christ Blessing the Children were frequently treated by the Cranach workshop. However, their pairing as pendants, as in the two small panels in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was unprecedented.

Before the sixteenth century, the theme of Christ Blessing the Children appears to have been confined to manuscript illuminations. Lucas Cranach the Elder is credited with introducing it to panel painting. It was an extraordinarily popular product of the Cranach workshop: some twenty-five versions are currently known.