'Lamentation over dead Christ'

Lucas Cranach

Christ being tended by crying people

© David Lewis family interests

Between 1505 and 1547 Cranach was court painter for the Saxon dukes in Wittenberg, Germany. He painted this emotional image of the Virgin and Mary Magdalene grieving shortly after his friend Martin Luther launched the Protestant reformation.

The mournful mood is set by the single conifer tree, whose branches symbolise the cross on which Christ died. This composition is thought unique for Cranach. He more often produced many versions of a theme. These were painted by his large workshop, which included his sons Hans and Lucas.