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Judgment of Paris

Lucas Cranach the Elder, German, 1472–1553
Oil and tempera on panel
Place made
Germany, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 238
20 x 14 5/16 in. (50.8 x 36.4 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
The seated knight at left has just finished judging a beauty contest. The story is based on the ancient myth of the Judgment of Paris in which the shepherd Paris is selected to referee an Olympian beauty contest. Cranach depicts a similar medieval legend in which Paris is a knight who goes hunting, tumbles into a bush, and dreams that the god Mercury, here clad in peacock feathers, tells him to judge. Juno (far right) glances coyly at the viewer and bobs her diaphanous wrap while Minerva (center) flirts more demurely by tilting her head. Venus, however, claims the winner’s golden orb, exuding arrogant self-assurance in the lift of her chin and her diverted gaze.
by 1890 -
Gotha Landesmuseum, Gotha, Thuringia, Germany [1]

- 1932
Van Diemen Gallery and Newhouse Gallery, New York, NY, USA (owned jointly) [2]

1932 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Newhouse Gallery [3]

[1] Gotha Landesmuseum catalogue of 1890 lists this object, no. 338 ["Gotha Landesmuseum Catalogue." Gotha: Gotha Museum, 1890].

[2] An invoice from the Newhouse Gallery dated March 4, 1932 states that both the Newhouse Gallery and Van Diemen Gallery guarentee the authenticity of the painting. However, the relationship between the two galleries and the reason for the joint ownership is unknown [SLAM document files].

[3] Invoice from the Newhouse Gallery dated April 28, 1932 [SLAM document files]. Minutes from Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, March 3, 1932.
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