Portrait of Catherine Bora

1529  Lucas Cranach
Oil on wood, 37 x 23 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Lucas Cranach appeared in Wittenberg in 1505 as the court artist of Frederick the Wise. In Wittenberg, a university town which became the greatest and most authoritative center for the Reformation, Cranach came into easy contact with reformers like Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchton

Because the artist was also a Protestant, it was only natural that he painted many portraits of Luther. In all Cranach's paintings he painted faithful portraits and made no attempt to conceal the harsh coarseness of Luther's peasant-like head and a certain petit-bourgeois expression.

The two portraits of Luther and his wife are recorded still attached together in 1724. Cranach produced many versions both of the double portrait of the couple as well as the figure of Luther alone, popularizing a type of painting which became established towards the middle of the 1520s and was destined to survive to our own day.