Johann (1498–1537), Duke of Saxony

Artist: Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, Kronach 1472–1553 Weimar)

Date: ca. 1534–37

Medium: Oil on beech

Dimensions: 25 5/8 x 17 3/8 in. (65.1 x 44.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1908

Accession Number: 08.19


In 1505 Lucas Cranach the Elder was appointed court painter to the Electors of Saxony at Wittenberg, serving successively Friedrich III, the Wise, Johann I, the Constant, and Johann Friedrich I, the Magnanimous. The sitter in this portrait, Johann, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Meissen and Landgrave of Thuringia, was a member of the ducal or Albertine branch of the family as opposed to the electoral or Ernestine line. The bold design and dramatic color, and the capricious but graceful outline of the costume are typical of the style Cranach developed as a portraitist to the court.