Cranach Altar Comes to Kirche

Weimar, Germany -- The famous Cranach Altar (1555), which is located in the Stadtkirche, has finally been restored to its former glory. The alter is considered a masterpiece of German Reformation-era art and was unveiled on October 31st; Reformation Day - in a televised church service, Die Welt reports.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are excited to see this historic artwork for the first time in over 65 years.

The Altar is to be found in Stadtkirche, a Gothic Church which is UNESCO-listed. It is regarded as the premier Reformation-era piece from the studio of Lucas Cranach the elder (1472-1553).

Two years after his father's death, the altar was completed by Lucas Cranach the younger (1515-1586).

The church underwent post-war reconstruction between 1948–1953. However, church officials decided to postpone renovating the altar to a later date; due to its complicated nature.

That painstaking process of restoring all three of the altar's wings only started several years ago. Friday marked the first time in many decades that the altar was shown in its entirety -- according to Heinrich Herbst, superintendent of the city of Weimar.

The late Gothic Church was destroyed during the bombing of World War II.

The altar depicts Lucas Cranach the elder with Martin Luther (1483-1546), and emphasises the protestant political affiliations of the region's ruling princes at the time as well as the members of the congregation.

Lucas Cranach the elder is, in fact, present in the alter's depiction. The crucified Christ is in the centre of the panel.

The artist's figure is repeated on the left side conquering an evil demon. In the background, there is a scene of the Expulsion from Eden, and immediately on the right of Christ, St John the Baptist points one of his fingers at the central figure. Next to the Baptist stands Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Bishop Ilse Junkermann is due to inaugurate the Cranach Altar on behalf of the central German Church of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt this weekend.

Reformation Master

Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Cranach der Ältere, c. 1472 – 16 October 1553) was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving.

He was court painter to the Electors of Saxony for most of his career, and is known for his portraits, both of German princes and those of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation, whose cause he embraced with enthusiasm, becoming a close friend of Martin Luther.

He also painted religious subjects, first in the Catholic tradition, and later trying to find new ways of conveying Lutheran religious concerns in art.

He continued throughout his career to paint meticulously executed nude subjects drawn from mythology and religion, incorporating real-life aesthetics and reformation themes into his masterpieces.

He had a large workshop and many works exist in different versions; his son Lucas Cranach the Younger, and others, continued to create versions of his father's works for decades after his death.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video explores the temporal significance and ingenious technique of Lucas Cranach the Elder.