The Golden Age

Lucas Cranach
2 min
Year: 1530



The lives of the people we see here are completely carefree. They never grow old, they live in harmony with nature and they have no concept of shame.    

The scene is how classical poets described the Golden Age: a kind of Garden of Eden, a lost idyllic era that existed before the Fall of Man.  

And here, behind enclosing walls, on lush green grass shaded by fruit trees, surrounded by peaceful animals, naked people dance, bathe and rest.  

The painter, Lucas Cranach the Elder, was an artist, businessman, wine merchant and supporter of the Protestant Reformation. Cranach was court painter to Duke Frederick the Third, Elector of Saxony. He was also a witness at Martin Luther's wedding; and a godfather to Luther's children. With the support of his powerful patrons, Cranach's rapid working methods allowed him to be hugely productive.  

Beyond the garden walls, high up on rocky crags, we see the seats of earthly power: towering above ordinary people and close to heaven.   

Cranach made this painting at a time of political unrest and major upheaval. Perhaps this idyllic green garden expresses an idea of how life might have been when people wandered innocently on the Earth, in harmony with nature and at peace with one another.