Friedrich III. Kurfürst von Sachsen, genannt "der Weise" (1463 - 1525; Kurfürst 1486 - 1525)

Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg


The face, hands, the magnificent dress and the jewellery of the prince depicted as donor in a posture of adoration are rendered in the finest artistic quality. The particular execution makes one forget that Cranach’s princely portraits often followed a particular pictorial scheme. The panel which appears today as an autonomous portrait formed in all likelihood a pendant (Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg/Art Collections of the Coburg Fortress, Inventory number M.167) to the portrait of Duke John the Steadfast (1468-1532) and was one of the wings of an altar, the central panel of which is lost. The panel belongs to the original stock of the princely collections. It is possible that the altar stood once in the palace church of the Veste Coburg (Coburg Fortress). Elector Frederick the Wise called the fortress “my castle Coburg”. During the early sixteenth century the fortress experienced its golden age. Elector Frederick ruled over the electorate of Saxony together with his brother Duke John the Steadfast. In 1513, the two brothers divided the Ernestine territory in a so-called “Mutschierung” (division of use). Frederick ruled from Wittenberg over the eastern parts of the electorate, while John took over the western parts, keeping residence in Weimar and Coburg. During this period, or shortly after, the Coburg altarpiece may have been created.


Klaus Weschenfelder

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