The above painting opened my eyes to the world of art. Do you see anything wrong in this painting of Adam and Eve? I am not a connoisseur of art per se, nor do I pretend to be one.
I couldn’t but exclaim “What? Adam and Eve with belly buttons? The artist was a dumb idiot!”
But the artist who painted it was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes.
Lucas Cranach the Elder was the principal member of the family of artists by the name Cranach who were active in Saxony during the 16th century.
From about 1501 to 1504 Lucas Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of the Wife of Dr Johann Stephan Reuss (1503), found in the collection of Staatliche Museen, Berlin and The Crucifixion (1503, in Alte Pinakothek, Munich).
In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg and held the position until 1550. As a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, he received a title and was mayor in 1537.
In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. He painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and Eve, The Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and nearly 20 versions of Venus and Cupid from 1527 to 1545.
As a friend of Martin Luther, Cranach’s art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation.
Cranach ran a large workshop and produced hundreds of works. His sons too were artists. His oldest son Hans Cranach died prematurely. His other son, Lucas Cranach the Younger was his pupil and assistant and distinguished himself.
Lucas Cranach died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553.
Here are some more paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder. All with navels!