The Easel

5th January 2021

Lucas Cranach’s Gothic Carnality

Centuries after his life in stern Northern Europe, Cranach remains influential. Central to this are his luminous female nudes. To promote Protestant morals, he made his women dangerous – slim, pale, erotic. They are timeless images of temptation and its consequences. Add his shimmering depiction of furs and jewelery and you have a “precursor to Klimt’s Viennese fantasies.” A virtual tour (17 min) is here.

One of the greatest of all outsider artists: Alfred Wallis at Kettle’s Yard reviewed

Wallis was oblivious to any modest artistic reputation he had. He painted just for companionship, using a limited palette – “shiny blacks, fierce greys, strange whites” and paying little regard to perspective. Two London artists discovered him by chance. Dissatisfied by art’s “decadence”, they saw in Wallis not an eccentric but an authentic modernist. What is it that gives his paintings their directness and subtlety? “More was going on in his mind than we’ll ever know.”