National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Crucifixion with the Converted Centurion Lucas Cranach the Elder (artist)
German, 1472 - 1553
The Crucifixion with the Converted Centurion, 1536
oil on panel
overall: 50.8 x 34.6 cm (20 x 13 5/8 in.) framed: 67.6 x 51.7 x 5.3 cm (26 5/8 x 20 3/8 x 2 1/16 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: German Painting and Sculpture in the Late 1400s and 1500s
Object 4 of 12

On a barren hilltop, silhouetted against a glowing horizon and fiery sky, Jesus utters his dying words, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" Cranach literally spelled out this statement in the air. The mounted Roman soldier recognizes Jesus' divinity with the phrase "Truly this man was the Son of God!" The centurion wears armor and a plumed hat fashionable in Renaissance Germany. Cranach was closely associated with Martin Luther and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. The artist and the cleric were friends, and both lived in Wittenberg. By 1522, Luther had translated the Bible's New Testament into German so that it would be accessible to lay readers. Significantly, the words of Jesus and the centurion are here written in German, not the traditional Latin of the Catholic Church.

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