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Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) was one of the leading German painters and printmakers of the early sixteenth century. Born in the Bavarian town of Kronach, from which he took his name, he became court painter to the Electors of Saxony. A close friend of Martin Luther, Cranach was a key artist of the Protestant Reformation, producing woodcut illustrations for Luther’s texts, and founding a successful publishing business.

Cranach’s innovations included new types of religious images, portraits, and the development of distinctive, stylised female nudes, such as Compton Verney’s own Venus and Cupid (c.1525). Inspired by this and other works in our collection; Portrait of Sigmund Kingsfelt (c.1530), Lot and His Daughters (c.1530) and the dramatic Hercules and Antaeus (c.1530), the exhibition – which is in association with The National Gallery, London – opens by exploring the artist’s historic oeuvre through key loans from leading British institutions.

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Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Sigmund Kingsfelt, c.1530. Oil on wood panel, 37,5 x 25,6 cm © Compton Verney.

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Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lot and His Daughters, c.1530. Oil on panel. 55.9 x W 39 cm. © Compton Verney. 

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 Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hercules and Antaeus, c.1530. Oil on panel, 26.5 x 17.5 cm© Compton Verney.

Cranach’s aesthetic reached down the centuries to inspire a wealth of modern and contemporary artists. The exhibition views Cranach’s powerful legacy through works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Michael Landy, and John Currin, and includes new work by Raqib Shaw, Claire Partington and Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, inspired by paintings from Compton Verney’s collection.

In association with the National Gallery and the National Gallery Curatorial Traineeship Programme, supported by Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation.

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