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Cranach image

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553)
Portrait of a Man in a Black Cap
Oil on paper, possibly over black chalk; some retouching in cap and bust
9 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches (250 x 195 mm)
Thaw Collection; 2006.50
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While working at the court of Frederick the Wise of Saxony in Wittenberg, Cranach specialized in portraiture. For this likeness, the artist used a technique uncommon in northern European drawing of the early 1500s: brush and oil paint on paper. The white highlights of the oil paint in the face contrast with the brown ground, making the sitter seem to emerge from the shadows and enhancing the illusion of his presence. His sharp, penetrating gaze enhances the effect.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.