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Painter, engraver, designer and publisher of woodcuts. Born in Kronach, about 1472, died in Weimar 16 October 1553. Son of the painter Hans Maler (d. Kronach, 1527/8) Lucas took his surname from his birthplace. His early work belongs to the style of Danube school artists such as Altdorfer, and from 1501/2 to 1504/5 he worked in Vienna. Recent research indicates that he also have worked in Dürer's workshop in Nuremberg early in his career (see G. Heydenreich in "Temptation in Eden", 2007, pp.19fff) In 1505 he became court painter to the Elector Friedrich the Wise of Saxony and established his workshop at Wittenberg. He held this position under successive Electors from 1505 to 1547 and from 1550 until his death. He developed an elegant, mannered style, which had a pervasive influence on sixteenth-century Saxon painting. In Wittenberg, Cranach was a town councillor from 1519 to 1545 and held the post of mayor several times between 1537/8 and 1543/4. In addition to running a large workshop, in which both his sons, Hans and Lucas the Younger, worked, he owned several houses, an apothecary's shop and, from 1523 to 1525/6, with Christian Döring, a publishing firm which specialised in Reformation literature. He was a close friend of Martin Luther, for whom he illustrated the influential "Passional Christi und Antichristi" (1521) after the latter's excommunication, and he produced both painted and printed portraits of Luther, his wife and associates. He also worked for Luther's adversary Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg and other Catholics.
Lucas Cranach the Elder