The  Pushkin Museum until 15 May Cranach. So, we set off again to travel the past epochs and understand unusual.

There is, after all, with all the nervousness of German XVI century was in it a certain stability.

Just imagine, one after another fall reissue “Hammer of Witches.” (Yes, this is not the Dark Ages, as we sometimes think, but it is a “bright Renaissance.” The “Hammer” in 1487, and for the mere XVI century republish it had twenty times, mostly in Germany).

Then, in 1517-m, there is another landmark essay – “95 theses” of Luther. And away we go: Catholics against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. The second accused in the first usurpation of power and greed, first fought for influence and the correct interpretation of dogma. In general, non-peaceful.

At the same time, he lived in Wittenberg yourself an artist, the artist’s son, the father of two artists and even his grandfather and great-grandfather of the artist! And yet – the owner of the shop and a pharmacy, a pair of houses and printing plants, and several times mayor – Lucas Cranach the Elder.

So, simply and quietly, without any there “pangs of creativity.” And even some “technologically” because vodilos Cranach workshop for the use of stencils, followed by “adjusting” of similar composition to the readiness of the forces of numerous apprentices.

Court painter of Frederick the Wise (the post brought him a noble title) was taken with the same readiness and portraits of its godfather of Martin Luther,


Martin Luther

and for the publication of Luther’s translation of the Bible, and prints to the Protestant pamphlets and portraits of Luther’s opponent Cardinal Albrecht.


“Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg in front of the crucifix”

What left us Cranach the Elder? First of all, the unique “lisoglazy” and the red-haired female type. So the paintings of Cranach all look – and Madonna with grapes, and the Old Testament Book of Judith, and the Gospel is a sinner, and even the Duchess of Saxony.


Portrait of Princess Sibylle of Cleves

Men’s styles are different from the artist, but his female faces poluinoplanetyanok no one confused. A surprising constancy.

Perhaps more realistic Cranach the Elder was in portraits of children, although it is written only a two. Saxon prince and princess, two children dressed in adult gentlemen, look at us with a little conventional, but it is the living image.


Portrait of a Saxon prince

And yet the artist have a lot of paintings on biblical themes and even scenes from antiquity. In these paintings is interesting, among other things, a landscape background, for Cranach Sr. is considered one of the founders of the Nordic landscape. But it was landscapes in his paintings are very original.

Perspective on them, in general, there is, but the viewer can not help feeling that all these forests and mountains in the background – Fantasy and conventional. Perhaps, in some ways they are even similar to Leonardo’s landscapes, except for two things. In contrast to the Italian Renaissance artists, who had to “get out” all possible ways masking the lack at their disposal a stable green pigment in Cranach problems with green color are not present. But there is in his work, and atmospheric haze. The artist seems to have set out to not give any details of the long term, and on the horizon tiny leaves on the trees had written as carefully as in the foreground.


“Judgement of Paris”, 1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York

And further. Perhaps it is on these story, multi-figured compositions by German artist finishes Renaissance and Mannerism begins. Because the main sign, which can be distinguished by Mannerism in painting – “all too restless and difficult.”

Endless Venus and nude Lucretia, which was flooded with German paintings by Cranach workshop, combine some inappropriate candor with unexplained tensions where sensuality and mysticism are intertwined so closely that sometimes one replaces the other.

As an option, the usual subjects are framed in the inexplicably complex composition, which can only lead to the cry: “Too much detail.”


“Crucifixion”, in 1503. Alte Pinakothek, Munich

One of the followers of his father’s case was Lucas Cranach the younger. However, to separate the work of the son of his father so hard at times that the various atlases often confused. And it is no coincidence: having spent many years as an apprentice in his father’s workshop, Lucas Jr. began with the fact that copied his father’s paintings and created numerous variants. Similar or slightly different paintings so much that sometimes it is difficult to say who belongs to one or the other story – the son or father nevertheless.

And once again before us – naked Lucretia, Venus and frivolous red-haired lady with a fox eyes. And yet – Bible stories in which drevnepalestinskogo not at all.


“Christ and the Sinner”. The State Hermitage Museum

Look for “Christ and the Sinner” Lucas, Jr. (version of this picture, there are the father). Image of Christ here, in general, as usual. Carefully written images of the apostles – it is clear that the artist understands good, one of them – who is trying to survive and authenticity. But then with the epochs begins obvious confusion, because the Legionnaires in cuirasses here – no not legionaries, and the usual German burghers. And even their headgear, they brought in a picture of the XVI century.

Moreover, apart from the sinful – once lisoglazoy ladies – it is very easy to see which of the characters is negative. After all, the person Legionnaires painted with grotesque, as if they had come down from the paintings of another artist – Hieronymus Bosch.

Yes, it seems the harmony and joy of the Renaissance were left somewhere behind. Restless it still had time – German XVI century.