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Proceedings Paper

‘Cranach Inc.’ A case study determining the nature and extent of Lucas Cranach the Elder’s involvement in his industrious workshop using image processing
Author(s): Ruth Lubashevsky
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Paper Abstract

Lucas Cranach the Elder (LCE) (1472-1553) maintained an organized and highly efficient workshop, served as councilor in Wittenberg from 1519-1544, established a publishing house in 1520, held a pharmacy from 1520, and served as mayor of Wittenberg from 1537 to 1543. He was known as the 'swiftest of painters,' resulting in 1,000 surviving panel paintings, canvas paintings, drawings, and etchings in a career that spanned 53 years (1500-1553). Facing this astoundingly enormous oeuvre, the question that this paper seeks to answer is unavoidable: what was LCE’s involvement in this oeuvre, which most is still attributed to him, in light of his many other time-consuming engagements? To answer this question, this paper becomes a study of stylistic comparisons of LCE’s oeuvre, in order to assess, analyze and identify his style to determine whether all of the works attributed to him were indeed his own handiwork. Classifying LCE's style, together with the fact that he ran his workshop in factory-like conditions, supplying his apprentices with pigments, designs they could trace, copies, modelling versions, and patterns, making him an artist turned businessman, LCE becomes an artist who turned art into an industrial operation, earning the title 'Cranach Inc.' The conclusion of this paper will be based inter-alia on comparisons between Infra-red images and the visible paintings, in order to undermine the established attributions made to LCE.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 June 2015
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9527, Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology V, 95270U (30 June 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2184731
Show Author Affiliations
Ruth Lubashevsky, Ben-Gurion Univ. of the Negev (Israel)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9527:
Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology V
Luca Pezzati; Piotr Targowski, Editor(s)

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