Lucas Cranach

Cranach Denkmal in Wittenberg

Lucas Cranach the Elder arrived in Wittenberg in 1505 and made his mark as an artist and prudent tradesman.

Both the theses and the Bible translation of the reformer Martin Luther were printed in his print shop. Therefore Lucas Cranach the Elder contributed to the success of the Reformation.

The life of Lucas Cranach the Elder

Portrait Lucas Cranach der Ältere

Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in Kronach in 1472 and was appointed court painter to Frederick the Wise in 1505. Cranach’s skillfully operated painting studio meant he was able to go far beyond the confines of his original job and he enjoyed success in many aspects of Wittenberg’s commercial life.

He acquired a printing workshop in 1519, for instance, a pharmacy in 1520 and publishing rights in 1524. From 1518 Cranach was the owner of Schlossstraße 1, the most prestigious property in the town, containing his home, his painting studio, his printing workshop, and the pharmacy. Cranach was a respected member of the Wittenberg town regiment and was also elected as mayor three times. From 1528 Cranach was Wittenberg’s richest citizen after the chancellor to the elector.

Lucas Cranach the Elder left Wittenberg when its last elector was taken into imperial imprisonment. He then followed his former master to his new royal seat at Weimar, where he died on 16 October 1553, active as an artist to last.