How Loukas Kranakh became both the great artist, and the successful druggist?
In the State of Saxony - Angalt along the coast of Elba stretched the small ancient town of Lyutershtadt Wittenberg. The city which became in the 16th century the center of Lutheran religion attracts to itself many tourists from various countries. Visiting house museums of Luther and Melankhton, city and castle Lutheran churches, people for a long time stop before cloths of a brush of Loukas Kranakh Starshego, look at the faces of representatives of the rebellious age of Reformation. Wittenberg, perhaps, the only place where pictures of the great master can be seen both in the museums, and in usual Lutheran churches. And many of them hang on the same places, as during lifetime of the artist.
Loukas Kranakh was born in 1472 in the artist`s family in the small German town of Kronakh in the Top Franconia. The childhood and youth of future master passed when the German art greedy absorbed spirit and ideas of the Italian Renaissance. This time put forward a group of great painters: Albrecht Duerer, Mathis Grunewald, Hans Holbeyn Mladshego who brought to the German art the European glory. Among this galaxy the worthy place was taken also by Loukas Kranakh who quickly won appreciation and love of contemporaries the graceful and sublime painting full of the movement and the streaming light.
In thirty years Loukas left the house of the father and through Bavaria went to Vienna which was at that time one of the centers of the European art. In noisy and cheerful Vienna where, apparently, even air is impregnated with noble ideas of humanity, the young master works hard, comprehends secrets of picturesque skill. Absorbed by painting, Loukas does not avoid a social life, with interest participates in hot debates on problems of philosophy and poetry. The portrait of the young thinker written in Vienna, the historian and the public figure Johannes Couspinian brought to Kranakh wide popularity and solid orders which followed it.
In 1505 Loukas Kranakh by the invitation of the Saxon Elector moves to the fortified city of Wittenberg. Friedrich Mudry governing at that time had a reputation for the supporter of education, the fan and the patron of art. At its yard where poets, musicians, artists and philosophers were flown down, Loukas Kranakh received an honourable position of the court painter.
Almost all creative life of the artist passed in Wittenberg. The court painter of consistently three Saxon Electors, he created one of the art workshops, largest in Germany, in which tens of his pupils and assistants worked. In the downtown near a market square got the big building in which there was a drugstore. In December, 1520. Kranakh received from the Elector the privilege on pharmaceutical trade. The increased income allowed it to become the owner of a printing workshop and the shop trading in spices. Trade and painting began to bring in to Kranakh the solid income, he becomes the rich burgher, is three times elected the burgomaster of the city.
In Wittenberg the artist became with the reformer of Catholic church, the ancestor of Lutheranism Martin Luther and his closest associate Philip Melankhton very intimate. With nervousness Kranakh got a grasp of 95 theses of Luther directed against Catholic church witnessed burning at gate “ Elstertor “ the papal bull about renunciation of the reformer of church. The painter left us Martin Luther`s portraits on which the person of big will, strong passions and sublime feelings is represented:
Connected with heads of Lutheran church, Loukas Kranakh paints pictures on religious plots, but even he safely brings spirit of freedom and humanity in them, fills cloths with real life. The Saints represented by it the clothes and naturalness of poses remind Saxon peasants or burghers, but not residents of hot Palestine more.
Connected with Luther the friendly relations, Kranakh took part in financing of the first edition of the New Testament in German. In September, 1552 Luther began the publication of the translation of the Scripture with this modest book.
The artist lived during blossoming of portrait painting when the best masters comprehended secrets of transfer of an interior, his identity and originality. On Kranakh`s canvases his contemporaries, in them are not present a stateliness and peacockery, they are natural and full of advantage. With special love the master writes female images. Let`s peer in “ Portrait of the young lady “ “ Madonna and child “ “ Venus “ “ The Lady at the " window; “ To Lucretius “. Its magic brush does women captivating and mysterious, charming and graceful. It should be noted also the landscapes serving as a background for many portraits written to them, they are in own way touching and transfer modest beauty of the nature of Germany.
Admiring painting of the master, the court poet of the Saxon Elector Philip Engelbrekht wrote: “ And it was drawn not by Parrasy, not Apelles or fast Protogenes, but Loukas who surpassed them born in Kronakh under the shining sky of Franconia “.
Loukas Kranakh Sr. left a noticeable mark in the European culture, created Saxon school of painting, brought up many pupils. His pictures decorate the best museums of the world, attentively study them, they are imitated by many generations of artists.
The outstanding master of painting Loukas Kranakh Sr. lived a long creative century and died in 1553, but there were his pictures full of inexhaustible pleasure of life and the thinnest modulations of paints. There is on the sedate Wittenberg street his house with a drugstore from which shelves watch the medical devices created during lifetime of the artist at visitors. In silent, paved an ancient stone the yard all as during lifetime of Kranakh. It seems that now the heavy door fettered by iron strips and from the angular turret decorated with the knight`s bas-relief - the standard-bearer will open, there will be a Master.]