This oil on panel by the German painter Lucas Cranach painted in 1517 is kept in the Museo Nacional de Arte de Catalunya in Barcelona. A work in which this artist shows us once again that he is the author of some of the best paintings of theGerman Renaissancethanks to paintings such as The Golden Age.
Cranach's Unequal Love Couple
The artist repeatedly painted a similar image where an elderly man seems to be infatuated with a younger girl, and she allows herself to be loved by her but in return she steals her bag. Without a doubt, the moral is clear, criticizing the lust that makes men foolish and also the greed of women.
It's a type of scene that Cranach not only recreated, it was actually a theme often repeated by other artists from countries where the Lutheran Reformation triumphed. And Cranach made variations on the same theme, since although here it is an old man and a young woman, there are also other paintings showing a young couple but also an older woman who is the one who collects the money for allowing that relationship.
Sometimes these paintings have a grotesque air, although they were scenes of prostitution that were the most common in society at the time. The truth is that we can consider these types of scenes a big difference between the Renaissance art that is made in Italy and that which is practiced in other places of thenorthern Europe. Since while in the transalpine country they are inspired by mythological and religious themes to capture beauty and harmony. In other places they have learned a lot from the great Italian masters, but these teachings are poured into other popular scenes and for more expressive purposes.
In this he became a great master Cranach, who still has in his art many reminiscences ofGothic painting. However, in the spirit of his work, he must be considered aRenaissance artist. And it is that, despite the grotesque, exaggerated and almost caricatured touches of him at times, the truth is that he sought to capture beauty. And we can even say that he created the canon of the female nude in German art, where for a long time his women with a stylized figure, with very long legs and small breasts, like the one we see, were imitated in his famous Venus and Cupid.
By the way, another feature of German art is some artists' signatures. For example, the greatAlbert Dürersigned many of his works with an anagram formed by A and D. And also Lucas Cranach with an anagram, but in this case it is a winged serpent with its wings up. He did so until the year 1537. However, on that date his son died, and from then on the wings were placed downwards.