Saint Christina

Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder - Saint Christina
This fragment featuring St Christina formed the right wing of a triptych, whose centre was occupied by the Virgin Enthroned, surrounded by female saints. A fragment of this central panel is exhibited in the nearby Picture Gallery of Prague Castle. Apart from the mentioned panels, other fragments of the original triptych have survived, scattered in various German collections. The altarpiece was commissioned directly from Cranach in his Wittenberg workshop, most possibly for St Vitus’s Cathedral in Prague around 1520. However, this altarpiece had remained in the Cathedral for about a hundred years only – in December 1619 it was broken to pieces during an iconoclastic assault. Fortunately, the work was not ruined completely – the iconoclasts saved the half-figures of the female saints, which probably bear portrait features of certain historical figures, and were deliberately preserved. The present panel, an alleged crypto-portrait, represents St Christina – her name is concealed in the inscription which the saint is holding: (Ch)risti virgo dilectissima (Christ's most beloved virgin).
measurements: height 74 cm
width 55 cm
in collections:
material: wood
technique: oil
inventory number: O 17435
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters

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