Madonna and Child before a Curtain

Lucas Cranach the Elder - workshop

Lucas Cranach the Elder -  workshop - Madonna and Child before a Curtain
The type of Marian painting in which the Madonna is giving the Christ Child a bunch of grapes and he is grasping the bunch, or even squeezing it with his fingers, was among Cranach's favourite Marian pictures. Because of its evident Eucharistic symbolism it was widespread not only in Catholic circles, but was also popular among the Lutherans. The bunch of grapes in the Prague picture offers a complex interpretation - Mary is shown here as a cultivated vine, the fruit of which is Jesus. At the same time the stem of the vine is the Redeemer himself and its branches are the believers (John 15,1-17). The Eucharistic idea is further strengthened by the Christ Child's gaze at the observer, for the redemption of whom Jesus sacrificed his body and his blood. A characteristic of the Prague work is the maximum simplification of the scene, substantiating the mass production of Cranach's paintings of the Madonna with the bunch of grapes, a considerable number of which have been preserved in widely differing variations. The appearance of the Prague panel is further influenced by the quantity of over-paintings (especially in the figure of the angel or the curtain, which was originally dark green, in the skin areas of both Mary and the Child and also in the draperies). The alterations to the panel in connection with its adjustment to the plywood also make it impossible to say whether the present format is original.
date:
measurements: height 85 cm
width 59 cm
material: wood
technique: oil
inventory number: O 9321
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters