Grunewald Hunting Lodge’s collection of Cranach paintings comprises nearly thirty works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, and their workshop, including outstanding masterpieces conveying a striking impression of the rulers and artistic activity at the Berlin royal court in the 16th century.
Joachim II (1505–1571) was a formative figure for the development of the Renaissance in Berlin. The royal patron of Grunewald Hunting Lodge is depicted in portraits by both Cranachs at different stages of life – as electoral prince (c.1520) and as elector (c. 1570). His extensive commissions to Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop include panels of the Passion of Christ for the Berlin Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church) as well as a series illustrating virtues appropriate to a sovereign (Exemplum, or “example” panels) created specifically for the Berlin Palace.
The surviving panels reflect the Hohenzollerns’ increasing demand for prestige and also depict a period of great transformation in religion and denomination. Although Joachim II’s father belonged to the rulers known as the “Old Believers,” he followed a moderate religious policy oriented toward the Reformation based on Martin Luther’s teachings. New interpretations in the guise of traditional pictorial subjects can also be discovered in works by the Cranach family.
The outstanding Cranach paintings are supplemented by the SPSG’s collection of Early Netherlandish and German paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries. Grunewald Hunting Lodge, built as the lakeside palace “Zum Gruenen Wald” (to the green forest) in 1542, provides a historically appropriate setting for the collection.