Lucas Cranach, the Elder was born in 1472. He took his name from the town of Kronach in South Germany, where he was born. He settled in Vienna in 1501 and began working in the humanist circles associated with the newly founded university. He stayed in Vienna only three years, but in his time there he produced some of his finest and most original works, including portraits of Johannes Cuspinian and his wife Anna.
Cranach went to Wittenberg in 1504 as court painter to Frederick III, Elector of Saxony. He remained in Wittenberg until 1550, when he followed John Frederick into exile in Augsburg. He became extremely wealthy during his time in Wittenberg, serving as burgomaster for several years.
His woodcut designs, most notably those for the first German edition of the New Testament in 1522, are thought to be more interesting than his paintings in the same sphere.
During the final years of his life, Cranach was assisted by his son, Lucas the Younger, who carried on the tradition of his father’s workshop and successfully imitated his father’s style.