Station: [11] Treasure Chamber II

Cranach had a quirky sense of humour! Take a look at the information panel relating to the Olomouc missal! It features seven red tiles with enlarged initials drawn from the missal. The D, for instance, shows a little boy piddling into a pot. The B has a creature chowing down on someone, while the C has a floral pattern. Only the eighth tile, bottom right, is different, because...

... it’s not by Cranach! It’s a woodcut by the printer Johannes Winterburger from Vienna. He signed his works with his initials and a crowned serpent with an arrow. So the Cranach serpent may also be a reference to the printer's trade.

On the wall to the right of the door, there are five woodcuts. The one on the left shows the Archangel Michael holding a pair of scales, in the process of weighing souls. On the Day of Judgement, he will decide whether people go to heaven or hell. To that end, he’ll weigh their hearts. If a heart is too light, the individual hasn’t performed enough good deeds, and their path leads straight to hell. The illustration from 1506 bears Cranach's old signature "LC". 

The other woodcuts show Christian Brück and Elector Johann the Steadfast in the top row, and the Fall of Man and the Last Supper in the bottom row.

The portrait of Christian Brück is a woodcut from 1549 by Lucas Cranach the Younger. Brück was Barbara Cranach’s husband and served as Chancellor of Saxony from 1555.

Except for the print of the Archangel Michael, the printing blocks for all these woodcuts have been preserved. They’re in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin. 

Take your time and have a good look around. In the display case to the left of the door, we have a book of Luther's writings from 1564 on display. It’s open on a double-page spread from the Passional Christi und Antichristi, which was first printed in 1521. The book features more than 100 woodcuts from the Cranach workshop.


All depictions: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Cranach Stiftung