‘Hunt at the Castle of Torgau in Honour of Charles V’, de Lucas Cranach ‘o Velho’

De Lucas Cranach ‘o Velho’ [c. 1472 – 16 Outubro 1553] ‘Hunt at the Castle of Torgau in Honour of Charles V’

Hunt at the Castle of Torgau in Honour of Charles V, 1544. Oil on panel. Room 055B

A hunting scene characterized by a very developed landscape castle of Hartenfels in Torgau (Saxony). Among those taking part are the Emperor Charles V and John Frederick the Magnanimous, Elector of Saxony (at the lower left), together with the latters wife, Sibylla of Cleves (on the right, dressed in red). The hunt never actually took place and the painting is in fact an allegory of good government, symbolised by the hunt. The painting was given by the Elector, a supporter of the Reformation, to the Emperor. It is dated 1544, the year of the fourth Diet of Speyer when Charles V finally ratified the Elector´s marriage, held in Torgau in 1527. This work is signed with the monogram of Lucas Cranach and dated 1544. It was brought to Spain by Maria of Hungary and hung in the El Pardo Palace, where it is listed in the inventory of 1564. Lucas Cranach and his workshop painted various scenes similar to this one. Each of them shows the elector of Saxony in possession of Torgau Castle, accompanied by different rulers of that time. Those paintings, which may have been commissioned by elector Johann Friedrich as presents to other princes during the fifteen forties, have a political meaning. On one hand, they depict him as the legitimate Lord of his territory, with a commitment to the Reformation, as Torgau was the first Protestant church built ex-novo. At the same time, hunting was synonymous with good government at that time, and it alludes to the necessary collaboration among rulers in order to insure peace.

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