Ill-matched Lovers (The Old Fool)

Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder - Ill-matched Lovers (The Old Fool)
This picture shows how popular and in demand satirical moralising works were in the 16th century. The main idea of Cranach's work is as old as humanity itself: the old man allows himself to be enchanted by a considerably younger woman who is not interested in him, but only in the old man's money. Cranach painted innumerable pictures with this theme; more than forty of them have survived up to the present day. He suffused these scenes with an almost caricature style; he could also take inspiration from the artistic treatment of the same theme by, for example, Jacopo de´ Barbari (who was, among other things, active as the court painter of Friedrich the Wise in Wittenberg before the arrival of Cranach), and also Quentin Massys, and he could even use prints of the period, especially those created by the so-called Hausbuchmeister. The theme of ill-matched love, to which members of both sexes succumb, found an echo not only in the works of Cranach's disciples; it also resounded in art even in the advanced period of the 18th age. The undated version in the National Gallery in Prague is allocated to the period around 1530, which is supported by the comparison with a very similar picture from Vienna (Akademie der bildenden Künste, which is signed and dated 1531. The assumed dating of the work from the NG was also supported by the dendrochronological investigation of the wooden base. As in the majority of works from this period, one can assume the cooperation of the master's workshop here, too.
measurements: height 38,1 cm
width 25,1 cm
material: beech wood
technique: oil
inventory number: O 455
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters

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