24 October, 2010.
These pictures belong to an artist that largely personifies the Renaissance and yet is relatively unknown. Lucas Cranach was born in Germany in 1472 and later became the court painter of Frederick III of Saxony.
He is also famous for painting the official portrait of Martin Luther. The father of the Protestant Reformation was painted many times by Cranach.
Now the Borghese Gallery has some of his best works in Rome.
Besides these portraits, his most popular paintings are representations of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus located in the Thyssen Museum in Madrid and the Museum Kunstsammlungen der Veste in Coburg, Germany.
These paintings were commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg to decorate churches in Halle and Berlin. He painted 142 pictures alone, for the church in Halle.Bernard Aikema
"In his time he was the most important provider of images for altars of churches and religious images for Catholics in central Europe."
Another one of his masterpieces was a portrait of Salome with the head of St. John the Baptist, painted in the early part of 1500´s. He wanted to display the strength of women in a time when they were considered socially inferior to men.
With this exhibition, the organizers also wanted to dispel the notion that was widely held that Cranach was a painter closed off within himself and went against the current of social norms.Bernard Aikema
"We believe that Cranach was very open, also to the novelty of the Italian Renaissance, which at first seems so different from the world of Cranach."
After Albrecht Dürer, Cranach´s work is considered the best representation of German painting in the 1500´s. One can now see 45 of these paintings in Rome alone.