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Lucas Cranach the Elder, Portrait of Johannes Feige

Key facts
Full title Portrait of Johannes Feige
Artist Lucas Cranach the Elder
Artist dates 1472 - 1553
Date made possibly early 1530s
Medium and support Oil on limewood
Dimensions 40.7 × 26.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by John P. Heseltine, 1903
Inventory number NG1925
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of Johannes Feige
Lucas Cranach the Elder

The coat of arms on the left resembles that of Johann Feige, chancellor of Hesse (a state in central Germany) between 1514 and 1542, while the shield on the right may represent that of his mother. Feige moved in the same Protestant circles that employed Cranach, and is likely to have known the artist.

Johann was possibly in his early fifties when Cranach painted this picture, and the artist has masterfully portrayed the sitter’s wisps of thinning hair and pallid, jowly face. Although he is simply dressed, the diamond pattern on Johann’s coat suggests his clothing is of good quality and expensive. The money bag worn on his belt also hints at his wealth.

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