16 MAY – 4 OCTOBER 2015
The Cultural Foundation DessauWörlitz is making a special contribution to the many tributes on offer in the Cranach Year 2015 with its exhibition in the Gothic House. Beginning in 1773, the Duke of Anhalt-Dessau began establishing the Gothic House in Wörlitzer Park as a chamber of arts amidst an assemblage of Gothic architecture. The focus of the collection was on works of Old German and Old Dutch paining. The collection once included nearly 600 paintings, among them masterpieces by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Lucas Cranach the Younger and their workshops. The Gothic House still has 18 paintings connected to the Cranach family, among them the important full-length portraits of Joachim Ernst of Anhalt-Dessau and his wife Agnes von Barby, by Lucas Cranach the Younger.
The exhibition presents the works for the first time in a reconstruction of the historic hangings. Some of the works are displayed in one-to-one photographic reproductions. The exhibition recreates the original context of the collection for the viewer, offering insight into its art-historical and historical aspects while allowing the visitor to retrace the Duke’s political and religious aims
The Gothic House in Wörlitz was built in several phases between 1773 and 1813. The northwest façade is reminiscent of the Madonna dell Orto church in Venice. And just like Venice, the city on the lagoon, the house in Wörlitz is also situated along a canal. The house held one of Germany’s oldest Cranach collections.
Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1563, detail
Instead of a painting of Karl von Anhalt, an identically sized portrait of his brother (1536-1586) by Lucas Cranach the Younger is now displayed in an architectonic arch. In 1570, after the other royal lines died out, Joachim Ernst unified Anhalt under his rule. After his death, Anhalt was divided among his sons into the principalities of Anhalt-Bernburg, Anhalt-Köthen, Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Zerbst.
Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1559, detail
To replace a painting that can no longer be reconstructed, an identically sized portrait of her sister-in-law Agnes von Barby (1540-1569) by Lucas Cranach the Younger dating from 1563 is now displayed in an architectural arch. Agnes von Barby was the first wife of Prince Joachim Ernst von Anhalt (1536-1586). Their two sons Johann Georg I. and Christian I. founded the Anhalt-Dessau and Anhalt-Bernburg lines.
Daniel Fritsch in the manner of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1586, detail
St. Catherine is kneeling in the center of the painting. Behind her is the executioner, who is about to draw his sword. He is accompanied by additional individuals, who are believed to represent specific historical figures, among them Elector Frederick III as well as other persons associated with Wittenberg University. The panel is a copy of the center panel of Lucas Cranach the Elder’s altarpiece of St. Catherine (1506).
Franz Wolfgang Rohrich, ca. 1800, detail
Rohrich painted this portrait several times, all in the manner of Lucas Cranach. The copy in Wörlitz is believed to be based on Cranach’s portrait of Electress Margarete von Sachsen, née von Anhalt (1494-1521).
In the school of Cranach, ca. 1530, detail
The Old Testament book of Judith recounts the story of Judith, a Jewish woman, who impressed the Assyrian ruler Holofernes with her beauty after he laid siege to the village of Bethulia. Judith exploited this admiration and killed the drunken Holofernes. To the left of the head of Holofernes is the inscription 15 AD 25. This inscription was intended to suggest the painting was by Albrecht Dürer, whose work was more highly regarded during the 18th century.
In the school of Cranach, 1556
Christ, surrounded by a halo, stands in the midst of a large and dense crowd of people, most of whom are mothers and children. He is holding a small child in his arms, and is being embraced by the child. This scene was repeated by Cranach in numerous versions.
Organisation Gothic house
TICKET “GOTHIC HOUSE“
Single ticket: 7 euros
Reduced single ticket: 5 euros
Buy a ticket
Tue-Sun, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CRANACH IN THE GOTHIC HOUSE IN WÖRLITZ
For groups up to 15 persons
Beginning in 1784, Duke Franz of Anhalt-Dessau began collecting paintings by old German masters, including more than 30 works by the Cranachs. In the Gothic House, the collection is presented for the first time in a reconstruction of the original hanging. The tour offers insight into the art-historical and historical aspects of the collection as well as the Duke’s political and religious aims.
Tour fee: 40 euros plus admission fee (German)
Duration: 1 hour
Service Office „Cranach 2015“
Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt
T. +49 (0) 34 91-420 31 71 │ firstname.lastname@example.org