The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara Lucas Cranach Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara is one of the famous paintings done by Lucas Cranach, the Elder. It was done in the year 1510 in Germany. Lucas Cranach's passion for art is clearly shown in the Martyrdom of Saint Barbara artwork. The fascinating brushstrokes tell a captivating tale of a pagan Greek father who was ready to execute his daughter.

In the Martyrdom of Saint Barbara painting, Lucas used his prowess in painting to clearly show a man holding a sword ready to execute a young woman in the presence of four men. The man was Dioscorus, a rich Greek man who wanted to execute his daughter, Saint Barbara, in the presence of Roman authorities, who seem to agree with the man's decision. She was to be executed for refusing to denounce her Christian religion. According to Saint Barbara's facial expression in the artwork, she seemed calm to indicate that she had accepted her fate and that she was not ready to bow down to her heathen father's demands. His father, on the other hand, seems angry, according to the Martyrdom of Saint Barbara artwork, because of his daughter's decision. The spectators in the painting were Roman authorities.

Legend has it that they had previously abused princess Barbara, on her father's orders, intending to convince her to make an offering to atheist gods, which she declined, and this led to her execution. Lucas Cranach the Elder was a great German renaissance supporter. This explains why he used this technique in most of his paintings. He also used realism by using real people in the artwork, depicting a real story that happened in ancient Greek. Today, the original painting is displayed in the metropolitan museum of art in New York City, and it has been there for an unspecified number of years.

The painting was done using Oil on Linden, which is a medium that dries slowly giving the painter enough time to make necessary changes before the paint dries out. Oil and linden were commonly used in the past to create permanent paintings that are still available centuries later. Lucas Cranach the Elder had a large workshop where his work existed in different versions. Due to his incredible work, he was able to inspire his son Lucas Cranach the Younger. After Lucas Cranach's death, this took place in 1553, many people continued to create versions of his work, which made his legacy more popular.

The Martyrdom of Saint Barbara in Detail Lucas Cranach