Christ Child Blessing with Cross, on the other side Suffering Christ (Man of Sorrows)

Lucas Cranach the Elder - workshop

Lucas Cranach the Elder -  workshop - Christ Child Blessing with Cross, on the other side Suffering Christ (Man of Sorrows)
This panel, painted on both sides with the Christ Child Blessing, holding a cross, and the Man of Sorrows, was evidently intended for use as an independent "Andachstbild", i.e. a painting intended for private devotions. The possibility cannot be ruled out, of course, that the panel formed a wing of a diptych or triptych, but the selection of scenes and also the smaller format point to the first possibility. The independent nature of the panel is also supported by composition arrangement: The Man of Sorrow holds a scourge and a birch in his crossed hands symmetrically on the left and the right. The theme of the Man of Sorrows, in the type of Imago pietatis, shows the dead Christ as a man (there is emphasis on the wounds from the beating, the Crucifixion and especially the wound in the side, from which blood is spurting), but at the same time as the living God (which is shown mainly by the wide-open eyes). This type of picture emphasises Christ's sacrifice on the cross and the subsequent redemption of humanity through his body and his blood. It simultaneously stresses the idea of the Eucharist, for according to a legend widespread in the Late Middle Ages, Christ appeared in this form to Pope Gregory the Great when he was celebrating mass. The other side of the panel is decorated with the Christ Child holding a cross, which is a theme that we find only sporadically with Cranach. The theme also emphasises the Redeemer's sacrifice on the cross. The completely translucent shirt that the little Jesus is wearing allows his human basis to show. Themes emphasising Christ's redemption sacrifice on the cross often appear in Reformation theology and visualisation, but they also occur frequently before the onset of the Reformation and their message continued to be urgent in the Roman Catholic Church (on both sides of the Alps).
measurements: height 55 cm
width 32 cm
material: wood
technique: oil
inventory number: DO 6574
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters

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