Portrait of a Man

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of a Man

Artist/Maker(s):

Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472 - 1553)

Culture:

German

Date:

about 1530

Medium:

Oil on paper

Dimensions:

26.2 x 20 cm (10 5/16 x 7 7/8 in.)

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For this unidentified sitter's likeness, one of Lucas Cranach the Elder's many portraits, Cranach used a technique uncommon in Northern European drawing of the early 1500s: brush and oil paint on paper. The gleaming white highlights of the oil paint in the face contrast with the brown ground, making the sitter seem to emerge from the shadows and enhancing the illusion of his living presence; the young man's large, intelligent eyes further the effect. Cranach combined intensity of expression with jewel-like refinement of surfaces to create a memorable image.

To produce the brownish ground, Cranach rubbed the paper with oil. He then sketched in the outlines of the head in pen and ink, meticulously going over the eyebrows, lashes, and outer facial contours. Next, using black chalk and brown oil paint, he sketched in the hat and collar. He continued by working up the face in oil paint, meticulously establishing the nuanced contours of the man's facial structure.

Exhibitions
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (33)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (60)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Cranach (May 17 to August 21, 1994) (60)
  • Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, (Augsburg), May 17 to August 21, 1994
Portrait Drawings 1500 - 1900 (January 30 to May 12, 1996) (60)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 30 to May 12, 1996
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998) (60)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998
German and Swiss Drawings from the Permanent Collection (June 6 to August 20, 2000) (60)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 6 to August 20, 2000
Posing for Posterity: Portrait Drawings from the Collection (October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002) (60)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 30, 2001 to January 20, 2002
Lucas Cranach: Meisterwerke (November 23, 2007 to June 8, 2008) (82)
  • Städtische Galerie im Städelsches Kunstinstitut, (Frankfurt), November 23, 2007 to February 17, 2008
Renaissance Drawings from Germany and Switzerland, 1470-1600 (March 27 to June 17, 2012) (82)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 27 to June 17, 2012