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Portrait of Joachim II of Brandenburg

Companion to the portrait of Magdalena of Saxony in the Art Institute of Chicago (1938.310).

Lucas Cranach the Elder, German (active Vienna, Wittenberg, and Weimar), 1472 - 1553


Oil on beech panel

23 3/8 × 16 3/8 inches (59.4 × 41.6 cm) Framed: 32 1/2 × 25 1/2 × 2 3/4 inches (82.6 × 64.8 × 7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 254, European Art 1500-1850, second floor (Rubenstein Gallery)

Accession Number:
Cat. 739

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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This portrait of Elector Joachim II (German, 1505-1571) depicts the ruler as heir apparent, six years before he assumed the electoral dignity. It is the companion to Cranach's portrait of Joachim's wife, Magdalena of Saxony (1507-1534), now at the Art Institute of Chicago. Joachim's pearl-decorated doublet displays two repeated motifs: the head of a jester and the letter M. Each M is topped with a heart and crown, probably in playful reference to Magdalena as the queen of Joachim's heart. The jesters may allude to the widespread notion that folly accompanies love.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.