The Judgment of Paris

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

Date: ca. 1528

Medium: Oil on beech

Dimensions: 40 1/8 x 28in. (101.9 x 71.1cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1928

Accession Number: 28.221


Cranach became a celebrated court painter for the electors of Saxony in Wittenberg. Among the most popular mythological scenes produced by him and his workshop for his courtly patrons were those featuring Venus, in particular, the Judgment of Paris. Painted about 1528, this picture depicts Paris, dressed in a contemporary suit of armor, as he deliberates over the fairest of three goddesses: Minerva, Venus, and Juno. While Mercury stands nearby holding the coveted prize—a golden apple (here transformed into a glass orb)—Cupid aims his arrow at Venus, signaling Paris’s decision in favor of the goddess of love.