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Lot 11. Lucas Cranach II (Wittenberg 1515-1586 Weimar) , Lucretiasigned with the artist's serpent device (lower left) oil on panel, unframed, 30 x 21¾ in. (76.2 x 55.4 cm.) Estimate £200,000 - £300,000. Price realised GBP 457,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2009

Provenance: Berlin, Fräulein Basch, 1911.
Count Einsiedel; Berlin, November 1901, lot 98.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 19 April 1996, lot 239, as 'Lucas Cranach I', when acquired by the present owner.

Literature: M.J. Friedländer and J. Rosenberg, The Paintings of Lucas Cranach, London, 1978, no. 358B, as 'After 1537' and 'Probably by the younger Lucas'.

Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Durero y Cranach. Arte y Humanismo en la Alemania del Renacimiento, 9 October 2007-6 January 2008, no. 71.

Notes: Previously considered to be by Cranach the Elder and datable after 1537, this beguiling composition has recently been confirmed by Dieter Koepplin, after inspection of the original, as by his son, Lucas the Younger (written communication 23 April 2009).

Koepplin considers this to be an 'outstanding' work by the artist, datable to the 1540s and with the serpent device signature that he used from 1537. The picture is listed by Friedländer and Rosenberg (loc. cit) and is similar to another of the same subject (op. cit., no. 240H, where dated too early according to Koepplin). There exists another unsigned version, sold at Christie's, New York, 24 January 2003, lot 33, and a further version in the Graz Museum.

According to Livy, Sextus, the son of the Roman tyrant Tarquinius, raped Lucretia, a virtuous Roman noblewoman. He told her that if she did not bend to his will, he would kill her and place her dead body next to that of a slave to make it appear as though she had committed adultery with him. In the face of this, Lucretia took her own life. Here she indicates her shame by drawing a veil over her face.

Christie's. Old Masters and 19th Century Art (evening sale) 7 July 2009  London, King Street www.christies.com

Another painting of Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger sold at Sotheby's:

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Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Lucretia, signed lower left with the artist's device of a dragon with folded wings and dated 1537 - oil on panel - 34 1/4 by 22 3/4 in.; 86.9 by 57.9 cm. Estimate 800,000—1,200,000 USD .Lot Sold. 962,500 USD at Sotheby's. Important Old Master Paintings, Including European Works of Art, 29 Jan 09. New York. photo courtesy Sotheby's

and another painting of Lucretia sold at Sotheby's:

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Attributed to The Master of the Holy Blood, Death of Lucretia, oil on panel. 61 by 45.6 cm.; 24 by 17 3/4 in. Estimate 10,000—15,000 GBP - Lot sold 12,500 GBP at Sotheby's. Old Master Paintings, 04 Dec 08, London. Photo Sotheby's.

Lucas Cranach, the Elder or his workshop produced at least 36 different versions of Lucretia

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"Lucretia" by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1535), Nizhni Novgorod Art Museum

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Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), The suicide of Lucretia, 1538. Bamberg, Neue Residenz

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Lucas Cranach the Elder (Kronach 1472 - Weimar 1553), Lucretia, 1530, tempera on beechwood. Sinebrychoff Art Museum

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School of Lucas Cranach The Elder, The Suicide of Lucretia, between 1526 and 1537. Oil on lime, 39.3 × 27.4 cm (15.5 × 10.8 in). Staatsgalerie Aschaffenburg

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Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucretia. Oil on panel, 76.4 x 56 cm. Acquired by Prince Albert. Signed lower left: 1530 / [monogram and snake].  The Royal Collection © 2009, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. RCIN 400050