Christian Schuchardt. Lucas Cranach des Aeltern: Leben und Werke. Vol. 2, Leipzig, 1851, pp. 88–89, no. 340, lists a portrait of John, Duke of Saxony, son of George the Bearded, formerly in the collection of the Stadtraths Baumgärtner, and since sold in Cologne [probably our portrait, see Ref. Wehle and Salinger 1947].
R[oger]. E. F[ry]. "Portrait of a Man by Lucas Cranach the Elder." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 3 (May 1908), p. 88, ill. p. 87, notes that no clue has been found to identify the sitter; compares it to Cranach's portrait of Johann Frederich der Grossmuthige dated 1531 (Louvre, Paris) and assigns it to about the same period.
"German Paintings in the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 3 (December 1908), p. 234, list it as "An Electoral Duke of Saxony".
Monsieur Kleinberger. Letter. January 12, 1908, reports that Dr. Friedländer, Dr. Bode, M. Hulin de Gand, and M. Cardon de Bruxelles not only confirm that this painting is by Cranach the Elder, but consider it a masterpiece by him; notes that he bought it directly from count Hans Wilczek at his chateau in Kreutzenstein, near Vienna.
Roger E. Fry. Letter to H. W. Kent. January 25, 1908 [published in Ref. Sutton 1972, vol. 1, letter no. 238, p. 294].
"Complete List of Accessions: January 20, 1908 to February 20, 1908." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 3 (March 1908), p. 62, list this painting as a "Panel portrait of an Electoral Duke of Saxony".
Addenda to the Catalogue of Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, March–June 1908, n.p., list it as "An Electoral Duke of Saxony".
Bryson Burroughs. Catalogue of Paintings. 1st ed. New York, 1914, p. 52, as "Portrait of a Man (Probably an Electoral Duke of Saxony)".
Robert Allerton Parker. "The Revaluation of Lucas Cranach." International Studio 87 (June 1927), p. 17, ill. p. 24, calls it a probable portrait of the Duke of Saxony.
Max J. Friedländer and Jakob Rosenberg. Die Gemälde von Lucas Cranach. Berlin, 1932, p. 92, no. 341b, date this painting about 1537 and say it is more likely by Cranach the Younger; identify the sitter as John, Duke of Saxony, son of George the Bearded, on the basis of an inscription on a copy of this portrait by the Monogrammist JS [IS] (Schlossmuseum, Gotha).
Charles L. Kuhn. A Catalogue of German Paintings of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in American Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1936, pp. 42–43, no. 131, pl. 24, calls it "Portrait of a Duke of Saxony," noting that the sitter's identity has not been established, although the names of George the Bearded, Henry the Pious, and Johann of Saxony have been suggested; erroneously states that the painting is dated 1531 and signed with a dragon with wings erect.
Ernst Heinrich Zimmermann. "Ein Bildnisentwurf Lucas Cranachs d. J." Berliner Museen 63 (1942), p. 4, relates the style of it and another version to a drawing of Ernst the Confessor in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Reims; proposes that both versions were made after the death of John, duke of Saxony, as memorial portraits, and dates them about 1537.
Jakob Rosenberg. Letter to Margaretta M. Salinger. March 8, 1945, comments that identifications of the sitters in Cranach paintings, such as this one, based on copies in the Gotha collection, were "pretty conclusive, since the Gotha paintings obviously represent contemporary copies of Cranach portraits with authentic inscriptions of their names" [see Ref. Friedländer and Rosenberg 1932].
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, p. 204, ill., call this a portrait of John, Duke of Saxony, based on Friedländer and Rosenberg's [Ref. 1932] identification; mention another version, without hands (formerly Goudstikker Galleries, Amsterdam; now Staatsgalerie Aschaffenburg) and a replica inscribed H. Hans [Herzog Hans or Johann] (formerly collection Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol; now Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); list Baumgärtner, Leipzig, in the provenance, observing that Schuchardt's description [Ref. 1851] is so close to the MMA picture "that there can be little doubt it is the same one".
Julius S. Held. "Book Reviews: Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta M. Salinger . . ., 1947." Art Bulletin 31 (June 1949), p. 140.
Jakob Rosenberg. Die Zeichnungen Lucas Cranachs D. Ä. Berlin, 1960, p. 31.
Christian A. zu Salm and Gisela Goldberg in Galerie Aschaffenburg Katalog. Munich, 1964, p. 43, mention this painting in relation to a portrait of John, Duke of Saxony by Cranach the Younger (Galerie Aschaffenburg); erroneously repeat that the MMA painting is signed with a winged dragon and dated 1531 [see Ref. Kuhn 1936].
Denys Sutton, ed. Letters of Roger Fry. New York, 1972, vol. 1, p. 294 n. 2 to letter 238 (January 25, 1908).
Karl Schütz. Lucas Cranach der Ältere und seine Werkstatt: Jubiläumsausstellung museumseigener Werke, 1472–1972. Exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum. Vienna, 1972, p. 54, under no. 78, mentions this painting in relation to the portrait of the same sitter in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Max J. Friedländer and Jakob Rosenberg. The Paintings of Lucas Cranach. rev. ed. Ithaca, N.Y., 1978, p. 155, no. 424B.
John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. Ed. Edward Chaney and Neil Ritchie. London, 1984, p. 233.
Introduction by James Snyder in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 15, 111, colorpl. 77, notes that the portrait is dated about 1537, the year of the sitter's death.
Marie-Hélène Montout. Cranach l'Ancien et le Jeune. [Reims], 1994, p. 53, rejects the connection [see Ref. Zimmerman 1942] between our picture and Cranach's portrait drawing in Reims as unconvincing.
Maryan Ainsworth Joshua Waterman in Timothy B. Husband in German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven, 2013.