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Pierpont Morgan's Study

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Lucas Cranach the Elder and Workshop
(German, 1472–1553)
Portrait of Martin Luther and His Wife, Katharina Von Bora, 1525
Oil on panel
Unframed: 7 5/8 x 12 3/8 inches (195 x 315 mm)
Framed: 13 1/4 x 18 inches (337 x 457 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; AZ038

Cranach painted this pair of portraits in 1525, the year Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora, a former Cistercian nun who had escaped from her convent with Luther's help in 1523. Luther argued against the practice of celibacy within the church, asserting his belief in clerical marriage with his own union. A friend of Luther's and a witness at his wedding, Cranach thereafter became the principal portrait painter of the couple.

Workshop of Giorgio Andreoli, called Giorgio da Gubbio
(Italian, ca. 1465/70–ca. 1553)
Plate with a Woman in Profile, 1529
10 5/8 x 1 3/8 inches (270 x 35 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; AZ028

Signed and dated 1529 on the back by the artist, this plate—depicting a woman identified by the inscribed scroll simply as Giustina—is typical of those produced in Italy during the Renaissance and may have been part of a larger service that commemorated a special occasion, perhaps a wedding.

Giorgio Andreoli, called Giorgio da Gubbio
(Italian, ca. 1465/70–1553)
Plate with Tree and Arms, 1519
Majolica, with green, blue, pink, orange, and ochre glazes
9 1/2 x 1 1/8 inches (242 x 30 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; AZ030

A central green tree divides the roughly symmetrical composition of military trophies on this plate, produced in the workshop of Giorgio da Gubbio, one of the masters of Italian Renaissance majolica ware. Trophies, military arms, armor, musical instruments, and other objects captured after a battle were popular decorative motifs chosen by sixteenth-century majolica painters.

Workshop of Giorgio Andreoli, called Giorgio da Gubbio
(Italian, ca. 1465/70–ca. 1553)
Plate with Putti Dancing and Winged Putti Playing a Double Flute, 1525
11 x 2 1/8 inches (280 x 53 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; AZ018

The design of this plate is loosely based, in reverse, on Dance of Cupids, Marcantonio Raimondi's print traditionally considered to be after a drawing by Raphael (now lost) made ca. 1515. The plate, which bears on the reverse the initials MG and the date 1525, demonstrates artists' use of prints as a decorative source.

Attributed to Desiderio da Settignano
(Italian, 1428–1464)
Bust of a Florentine Woman, Perhaps Marietta Strozzi, ca. 1460
21 1/4 x 16 7/8 x 8 1/4 inches (540 x 430 x 210 mm)
Stand: 5 5/8 x 20 1/8 x 10 5/8 inches (142 x 510 x 270 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1908; AZ021

Desiderio was one of the most skillful sculptors of his age. This bust may be one of several depictions by the artist of Marietta Strozzi, a member of a powerful Florentine banking family. The genre of secular portrait busts emerged around 1450 in Florence, where they became popular among the city's prominent families.

Gian Giacomo d'Alladio, called Macrino d'Alba
(Italian, ca. 1465–1528)
Portrait of a Knight of Malta, 1499
Tempera on panel
Panel: 15 1/8 x 11 1/4 inches (383 x 285 mm)
Framed: 33 7/8 x 23 7/8 inches (860 x 605 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; AZ015

The sitter wears the white cross of the Order of Malta, one of the oldest lay religious orders whose fifteenth-century members were Catholic, of noble birth, and devoted to works of virtue and charity. He may be Benvenuto San Giorgio of Biandrate, a nobleman, papal ambassador, and knight of the order since 1480. The dated inscription in the border reads By the hand of Macrino I shall live after death.

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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.