The painting, considered a forgery, is attributed to Lucas the Elder 19/12/2017 automatic translate
LONDON. More than 100 years, art historians called the painting, bought by Queen Victoria as a Christmas present to Prince Albert, a fake of the 19th century. But a new generation of art historians discovered that they were wrong. Victoria and her advisors were not mistaken when they decided to buy the painting in 1840. This is the true work of the German master Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop.
On Tuesday, the beautifully restored work went to a public display in Windsor Castle, taking a place in the Royal Cloakroom along with other works of Cranach.
Nicola Christie, head of the preservation of paintings at the Royal Collection Trust, welcomed this discovery. "This is a quivering event. This does not happen very often and I’m very pleased to know that the error in attribution has been fixed. "
The picture "Portrait of a Lady and Her Son" (written around 1510-1540) shows the unconfirmed spouse of the Prince of the Holy Roman Empire and her son, who stand side by side.
Victoria and Albert often gave each other pictures for Christmas and birthdays and Albert, who showed great interest in early German and Dutch art, was most likely delighted with the real Cranach. "Who would not?" - continues Christy - "For Victoria it was completely natural and I’m sure when she bought it, she thought it was a picture of Cranach."
At some point in the beginning of the 20th century, doubts about the origin of the plate were discarded and the authorship was again awarded to Franz Wolfgang Roerich, an artist of the early 19th century, imitator of Cranach.
"It is known that about 40 versions of this composition were produced by him," says Christy. Rohrikh sold them as original works and they can still be found in collections around the world, as well as in auction rooms. At Christie’s in 2014, one of these portraits was sold for? 25,000, while the true picture of Cranach the Elder is estimated at 9.3 million pounds.
Historians suggest that Rohrich wrote copies of this painting, imitating Cranach’s style, because there were no known versions of the original. "Even Rohrikh did not copy the lost picture of Cranach - it was Roerich’s invention."
About a year ago, the leading expert on the creativity of Cranach, Professor Gunnar Heidenreich, who had previously seen the picture and had an idea about it, visited the Royal Collection. An x-ray study using infrared reflectography was conducted, which revealed two convincing proofs that the picture could not have been written by Roerich and could be the true work of Cranach and his workshop.
First, characteristic fibers identified as pigeon tendons, often used in the 16th century to counteract the natural deformation and splitting of wood, were found under the layers of paint on the panel surface. "Rorich would not have been able to prepare his panel in the same way that Cranach and his workshop would have done," says Christy. The second discovery is the lead yellow pigment, widely used in the times of Cranach, but not in the XIX century.
A professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Heidenreich, is convinced that this is the original, which should be attributed to Cranach the Elder and his workshop. He asked to see the painting at the exhibition in Kunstpalast Museum in Dusseldorf in the spring of 2017, and before that the picture was cleared to reveal its true beauty.
Since the picture was considered a copy of the 19th century, it had not previously been published.
Cranach the Elder was the court painter of the Saxon monarchs in Wittenberg and considered one of the most important artists of the German school. He was a special passion of Prince Albert, who acquired 12 paintings of Cranach and his workshop, many as gifts from the queen.
"Portrait of the Lady and her son," written, presumably between 1510 and 1540, can now be seen in the royal dressing room at Windsor Castle, along with other works of Cranach and his workshop: "Apollo and Diana" (p. 1526), "Lucrezia" (1530) and the "Court of Paris" (p. 1530-35).