National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Madonna and Child Lucas Cranach the Elder (artist)
German, 1472 - 1553
Madonna and Child, probably c. 1535 or after
oil on panel
overall: 71.2 x 52.1 cm (28 1/16 x 20 1/2 in.)
Gift of Adolph Caspar Miller
On View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 3 of 12

Conservation Notes

The painting is comprised of two boards with vertically oriented grain. A dendrochronological examination by Peter Klein yielded dates of 1406-1453 and 1480-1513 for the boards.[1] The panel has been thinned down to a thickness of 0.2 cm and an auxiliary support added. The support consists of a plywood composite board sandwiched between two thin sheets of wood. The panel was then cradled. Either before or after the panel was thinned, an inset of oak, 16.4 x 17 cm, was added to the top right corner, replacing the original wood and paint, which had been lost. The x-radiograph indicates extensive woodworm damage throughout the panel, and this may be related to the loss of the corner, although it is also possible that this area contained a landscape that was cut out. The x-radiograph also suggests that a knot was removed and replaced with an inset and a filler before the panel was painted, because the craquelure pattern of the paint goes over the inset and also because the worm channels continue into the inset. Examination with infrared reflectography disclosed underdrawing in what appears to be a liquid medium, which is especially visible in the knot of the Madonna's sash.

The painting is not in good condition. In order to disguise the extent of the loss in the top right corner the background has been overpainted; moreover, the original paint is badly abraded. Two splits are visible; one extends upward from the bottom edge through the glass, while the second occurred along the join line. There are numerous other losses, some of which are due to flaking, most of which have been filled and inpainted.

[1] The wood was identified as beech by Peter Klein, examination report, 5 May 1987, in NGA curatorial files, and by the National Gallery's scientific research department.

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