Museum Home Research and Conservation Cranach Magnified-Introduction

Cranach Magnified allows you to investigate the refined painting technique of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553) and his workshop by comparing zoomable macroscopic details from different paintings side by side.

About This Project
Following its acquisition in 2003, conservators and curators at the J. Paul Getty Museum examined Lucas Cranach the Elder's A Faun and His Family with a Slain Lion under magnification. They found a number of startling details, such as this tiny running figure on the road in the background (near right), that are indicative of Cranach's highly detailed technique. Similarly, close scrutiny of related paintings—Apollo and Diana (Royal Collection), and Adam and Eve, (Courtauld Institute of Art)—led to similar discoveries, such as the reflection in the stag's eye (far right). This comparative image tool is inspired by these findings.

The project initially focused on paintings executed between 1525 and 1530, and the sinuous, almost calligraphic brushwork, textured foliage, and surprisingly minute features characteristic of Cranach's style in the late 1520s. Cranach Magnified has now been expanded to include works from across the artist's career. By enabling close comparison of paintings related by date and iconography side by side, this tool is intended to help researchers better understand Cranach's technique.

See the paintings at relative size in the image gallery.

We thank the participating institutions for their generous contributions to this project.

We welcome your contributions to this ongoing study. Look for the "Submit Your Reaction" button on the image tool.

About Lucas Cranach the Elder
One of the leading painters of the German Renaissance, Lucas Cranach the Elder served Duke Frederick the Wise and the court at Wittenburg from 1507 to 1553. Cranach oversaw a busy workshop that strove to meet the high demand for his portraits, as well as his popular religious and mythological scenes. He developed a signature approach to the nude form and to specific motifs, notably animals, which the workshop could replicate. Multiple versions and copies have long complicated Cranach studies.

Related Links
Temptation in Eden: Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve
The Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery in London presented this exhibition focusing on Adam and Eve from June 21 through September 23, 2007.