The Nymph of the Fountain

Lucas Cranach (the elder), 1534

WAG 1223

About this object

The artist received his surname from his native city of Kronach in Germany, where his father also worked as a painter. In 1505 Cranach moved to the court of the Elector Frederick the Wise in Saxony. There he established a large workshop with his sons as assistants.

The reclining female nude composition was based on an ancient text describing a spring or fountain guarded by a statue of a nymph. It was a motif repeated several times in Cranach's workshop.

The Latin inscription on the fountain represents the lasciviously smiling nymph's words as she looks out at us through half-closed eyes: 'I, the nymph of the sacred fountain, am resting; do not disturb me.'

Such seductive nudes are characteristic of Cranach's mature style.

Object specifics

  • Other title(s)
    The Fountain Nymph; A Venus
  • Artist(s)
    Lucas Cranach (the elder) (German, born:4 October 1472, died:16 October 1553)
  • Date
    1534
  • Materials
    Oil; Panel
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 51.1 cm x 77.9 cm
  • Physical description
    Female nude lying on a grassy mound and leaning against green-striped cushion. There are two birds and a bow and arrows at her feet. A stone fountain behind her, with a river landscape and town visible in background to right.
  • Related people
    Lucas Cranach (the elder) (Artist/maker); Liverpool Royal Institution (Previous owner); Thomas (junior) Wilkinson (Previous owner); Thomas Winstanley (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 1223
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Liverpool Royal Institution in 1948
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 01
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Liverpool Royal Institution

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1948
    Disposal method: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery
  • Thomas Winstanley

    Owned from: 1811
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1815-11-16
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Thomas (junior) Wilkinson

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1811-06-29
    Disposal method: Sold to Winstanley & Son, 34 Russell Square London, lot 53

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: FONTIS NYMPHA SACRI SOMNUM NE RUMPE QUIESCO / 1534 / and winged dragon
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: On the fountain base
  • Inscription text: with winged dragon / 1534
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: Manchester Art Treasures Roscoe Cole - 48; Restricted by Kidson 1908; Art Treasures 1857 no 49
    Inscription method: Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back of original oak panel
  • Inscription text: Sanderson [?] 25, Leeds 1868 no 14
    Inscription method: Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Underneath slats in MS
Object view = Fine Art
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