From the 20th of October to the 23rd of January 2011 – Centre for Fine arts – Bozar – Brussels
Lucas Cranach (Cranach the elder 1472-1553) was one of the greatest European painters of the 16th century. This exhibition – the first to be devoted to the artist in a Benelux country – replaces the work of this leading figure of the German Renaissance in the social, cultural, and artistic context of his time. The retrospective at the Palais des Beaux Arts intends to be exhaustive since it covers all the periods of this artist with such a long life, from his beginnings in Vienna in 1500 up to his last productions at the court of the Elector of Saxe. His nudes of course are present, troubling in their dual identity as erotic and pretentiously moralizing. But we of course have the portraits of Luther and other actors of the Reform and the Counter-Reform, his numerous prints on wood, a field in which he was a virtuoso. As a court painter, he also rubbed shoulders with great figures, while liberating nudity and the power of women in a sensual, anti-academic style. Some 150 paintings, drawings, and rarely seen engravings show the authenticity and originality of his sophisticated artistry, his work in the studio, and his close bonds with his German, Italian, and Dutch contemporaries, including Dürer and Metsys. A journey through a fascinating period in European history.