Station: [9] Original or Forgery

... but they’re 19th century forgeries! 

For many years, these Cranach forgeries were attributed to the painter Heinrich Aldegrever. He was a 16th century artist who occasionally copied paintings by Cranach. However, based on the current state of research, the paintings aren’t Aldegrever originals, but 19th century works by Franz Wolfgang Rohrich. He was very good at immersing himself in the period of early German painting. But was it truly impossible to recognise his paintings as forgeries? 

As you ask yourself that, take a closer look at the two paintings. On the left, there’s a portrait of Friedrich the Wise, and next to him, the painting of a noble lady. The ideal of beauty, the priceless dress painted on a gold ground – this is clearly in the courtly style of Lucas Cranach the Elder. But ...

... Franz Wolfgang Rohrich used to work tiny details into his paintings that you can only see if you examine them very closely. Look at the lady's necklace, her earrings, her belt buckle – all the stones have little faces painted on them! 

Franz Wolfgang Rohrich lived in Nuremberg from 1787 to 1834. For years, his paintings echoing the great master’s works hung in various museums as Cranach originals.

Both these paintings were donated to the Cranach Foundation by the publisher Alfred Neven DuMont.

We’re now going to move on into the treasure chamber. Please turn around and exit through the door opposite.


All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Cranach Stiftung