Martin Luther (1483–1546)

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

Date: probably 1532

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: 13 1/8 x 9 1/8 in. (33.3 x 23.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Robert Lehman, 1955

Accession Number: 55.220.2


Lucas Cranach and his workshop produced many printed and painted portraits of Martin Luther, with whom the artist was well acquainted. In this small panel, the Reformer is shown close up, in three-quarter profile, wearing the distinctive black Protestant vestments. The picture was probably joined with a portrait of Philipp Melanchthon, a theologian, intellectual leader of the Reformation, and Luther’s main collaborator. Several surviving versions indicate that the pairing enjoyed a wide circulation. The present painting, which shows a certain formulaic stiffness, must be considered a repetition by Cranach’s workshop.