Saint Maurice

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

Date: ca. 1520–25

Medium: Oil on linden

Dimensions: 54 x 15 1/2 in. (137.2 x 39.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Eva F. Kollsman, 2005

Accession Number: 2006.469


Originally the wing of an altarpiece, this panel represents Maurice, the Roman legion commander martyred for refusing to slaughter Christians. It was likely commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490–1545), the most powerful prelate in the Holy Roman Empire, who established the collegiate church at Halle as a showplace for his art patronage and his collection of over 8,200 relics. Cranach’s painting reproduces one of the church’s treasures, a life-size reliquary statue of Saint Maurice in a gold-trimmed suit of silver armor. The collar of the Golden Fleece and the imperial eagle on the banner are references to the reigning emperor, Charles V.