Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Humor of Cranach the Elder

Venus Standing in a Landscape
Venus with Cupid Stealing Honey
Cupid Complaining to Venus
Venus and Cupid
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) had a great sense of humor. He painted a lot of pictures of Venus or Venus and Cupid together. Some of his nudes are discreetly and gracefully holding pieces of fabric over their private parts, but often the fabric is transparent so you have to wonder what it's for. Maybe he was being ironic and maybe he was just having fun painting see-through fabric. Cupid is stealing "honey" from Venus in one picture and complaining to her in another. Venus also has a big crazy hat on. Why? I don't care, I love it! Cranach the Elder had a wonderful narrative folk-art style with a great sense of design. I like these tall panels for standing figures. I am working on a painting right now that has a tall format.
Thanks to Femme, Femme, Femme for reminding me of Cranach. There will be a show of Cranach the Elder at the Royal Academy of Arts from March-June, 2008

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