Cranach & Dürer day

Yesterday, April 6, was the day set aside to commemorate the two Reformation artists Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer, this being the day the latter artist died. (Are Lutherans the only ones to mark this day? Did these artists get on the Anglican calendar? I believe the ELCA throws in Michaelangelo, the humanist Catholic artist. Does anyone know?)

Read A man for all seasons – Spring 2008 – RA Magazine – Royal Academy of Arts, growing out of the big Cranach exhibit at the Royal Academy that has the contemporary art world all astonished. The article surveys Cranach’s career in an interesting way, though the author does not “get” the Christian part, or how the Reformation put together what this critic assumes is contradictory.

Albrecht Dürer was an even greater and more influential artist. He pioneered highly realistic painting, including the genre of the human-free landscape. He was earlier than Cranach, captivated by Luther’s Reformation when it was brand new and he was in his last years. His most famous work: Those oft-reproduced praying hands.

Wikipedia has some good write-ups, with samples of their work, for both Cranach and
Dürer.

Durer's Praying Hands

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Just as a FYI: The oft-repeated story that Durer modeled the praying hands after the gnarled hands of a friend who’d supported him through art school is not true.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Just as a FYI: The oft-repeated story that Durer modeled the praying hands after the gnarled hands of a friend who’d supported him through art school is not true.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Update: I can’t actually find a reference online for my statement above. Snopes has nothing to say about the picture. However, I note that there are 2 different versions of the story running around. One makes the sketch a picture of Durer’s friend’s hands, the other makes it his brother’s hands. More objective references simply state that the sketch was a study for a saint’s hands on an altarpiece that was never actually executed.

    So let me restate my argument: I’m deeply skeptical about the story.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Update: I can’t actually find a reference online for my statement above. Snopes has nothing to say about the picture. However, I note that there are 2 different versions of the story running around. One makes the sketch a picture of Durer’s friend’s hands, the other makes it his brother’s hands. More objective references simply state that the sketch was a study for a saint’s hands on an altarpiece that was never actually executed.

    So let me restate my argument: I’m deeply skeptical about the story.

  • Carl Vehse

    Wikipedia noted that the chemist’s shop of Lucas Cranach was open for centuries, and only perished by fire in 1871. I suspect the “chemist’s shop” was another name for an apothecary shop or the 16th centruy version of a drugstore.

    Does the Cranach guru have any information about this aspect of Cranach’s life?

    Did Martin Luther, with his occasional ailments, use the services of Cranach’s shop? Luther’s wife, Katrina (nee von Bora) stayed at the home of Lucas and Barbara Cranach for several months while Martin was trying to be a matchmaker for the nuns he had rescued. Katy probably would have known about the chemist’s shop.

    Inquiring Lutherans want to know!

  • Carl Vehse

    Wikipedia noted that the chemist’s shop of Lucas Cranach was open for centuries, and only perished by fire in 1871. I suspect the “chemist’s shop” was another name for an apothecary shop or the 16th centruy version of a drugstore.

    Does the Cranach guru have any information about this aspect of Cranach’s life?

    Did Martin Luther, with his occasional ailments, use the services of Cranach’s shop? Luther’s wife, Katrina (nee von Bora) stayed at the home of Lucas and Barbara Cranach for several months while Martin was trying to be a matchmaker for the nuns he had rescued. Katy probably would have known about the chemist’s shop.

    Inquiring Lutherans want to know!

  • Scot K

    With the advent of the expanded Commemorations offered in the new Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Luherans join their ELCA brothers and sisters in commemorating Duerer on April 6. Yes, according to Philp Pfatteicher’s handbookd to the LBW calendar, Michaelangelo is co-commemorated with Duerer on April 6. Cranach, on the other hand, is noted by Pfatteicher in parenthesis as celebrated “(with Duerer)”. LSB designates April 6 as the commemoration of Lucas Cranach and Albrecth Duerer – Artists. At least according to the 2006 yearbook of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Anglican sanctoral calendar does not include either of these two Lutheran fathers of the faith.
    The upcoming Treasury of Daily Prayer offers this biography:
    Lucas Cranach (1472-1557), a close friend of Martin Luther, was a celebrated painter of portraits and altar pieces and a producer of woodcuts of religious subjects. Albrecht Duerer (1471-1528), a native of Nuernberg, Germany, was one of the most learned of Renaissance artists and also an ardent admirer of Martin Luther. His paintings and woodcuts include examples of the splendor of creation and skilled portrayals of biblical narratives. Both Cranach and Duerer are remembered and honored for the grandeur of their works of art that depict the glory and majesty and the grace and mercy of the triune God.

  • Scot K

    With the advent of the expanded Commemorations offered in the new Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Luherans join their ELCA brothers and sisters in commemorating Duerer on April 6. Yes, according to Philp Pfatteicher’s handbookd to the LBW calendar, Michaelangelo is co-commemorated with Duerer on April 6. Cranach, on the other hand, is noted by Pfatteicher in parenthesis as celebrated “(with Duerer)”. LSB designates April 6 as the commemoration of Lucas Cranach and Albrecth Duerer – Artists. At least according to the 2006 yearbook of Lesser Feasts and Fasts, the Anglican sanctoral calendar does not include either of these two Lutheran fathers of the faith.
    The upcoming Treasury of Daily Prayer offers this biography:
    Lucas Cranach (1472-1557), a close friend of Martin Luther, was a celebrated painter of portraits and altar pieces and a producer of woodcuts of religious subjects. Albrecht Duerer (1471-1528), a native of Nuernberg, Germany, was one of the most learned of Renaissance artists and also an ardent admirer of Martin Luther. His paintings and woodcuts include examples of the splendor of creation and skilled portrayals of biblical narratives. Both Cranach and Duerer are remembered and honored for the grandeur of their works of art that depict the glory and majesty and the grace and mercy of the triune God.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Yes, Carl, Cranach was a true Renaissance man, with talents in a whole range of vocations. He was an apothecary (scientist), a printer/publisher (businessman), the mayor of Wittenberg (politician), a lay leader in the church (up your alley!), as well as a major artist.

    He also gives the lie to the view that artists aren’t practical and all those other bohemian myths of the artist as a special soul above reality.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Yes, Carl, Cranach was a true Renaissance man, with talents in a whole range of vocations. He was an apothecary (scientist), a printer/publisher (businessman), the mayor of Wittenberg (politician), a lay leader in the church (up your alley!), as well as a major artist.

    He also gives the lie to the view that artists aren’t practical and all those other bohemian myths of the artist as a special soul above reality.

  • Firinnteine

    Neither Cranach nor Durer appear on the Anglican calendar, at least the Episcopal version: http://satucket.com/lectionary/Calendar.htm

    (This is sad; although I’m lamentably untrained in the visual arts — a gap in my PHC education! — I have a high regard for Durer. Cranach’s work I really don’t know.)

  • Firinnteine

    Neither Cranach nor Durer appear on the Anglican calendar, at least the Episcopal version: http://satucket.com/lectionary/Calendar.htm

    (This is sad; although I’m lamentably untrained in the visual arts — a gap in my PHC education! — I have a high regard for Durer. Cranach’s work I really don’t know.)

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