The Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of Christ

1530s

Lucas Cranach

(German, 1472-1553)

Oil on wood

Framed: 24.4 x 29.2 x 5.1 cm (9 5/8 x 11 1/2 x 2 in.); Unframed: 15 x 20.5 cm (5 7/8 x 8 1/16 in.)

Gift of Mrs. Charles E. Roseman in memory of Charles E. Roseman, Jr. 1953.143

Description

Painted in minute detail, Cranach’s majestic scene includes elements characteristic of landscapes in 16th-century German art: verdant forest, hilltop city, and distant mountains. A close associate of Protestant reformer Martin Luther, Cranach adapted Christian imagery to reflect Luther’s belief that religious art must narrate scripture. The Gospels describe Christ’s baptism with the heavens opening, a dove descending, and a voice saying, “Here is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased,” which Cranach painted in Latin directly onto the clouds.

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