Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Three Princesses Of Saxony

The three princesses of Saxony, Sibylla, Emilia and Sidonia (c. 1535), oil on panel
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Viena

"The three princesses of Saxony, Sibylla (1515-92), Emilia (1516-91) and Sidonia (1518-1575)" is a stunning painting. At a first glance the viewer might have the feeling Lucas Cranach the Elder portrayed only one girl from three different angles. Indeed, the three sisters are very similar in facial features and clothing, yet so different from each other. After a careful analysis, one can easily see how the master managed to capture a different personality and age on each face and even a different fashion preference. There is absolutely no detail to be found in exactly the same shape or color in the portraits of the three girls. Each of them wears a different hairstyle in fashion during the Renaissance in Saxony, and each dress features expensive fabrics and complex embroideries. The gold jewelries are a symbol of wealth and prosperity. However, I could not help but notice the missing hat, the missing details and the melancholic face of the girl on the left, the older one. It's like her time's up and she is slowly slipping away from the painting. In the spotlight now is the girl in the middle, Emilia. It's her hour and she is shamelessly making eye contact with the viewer, in a sweet and desperate attempt to be picked. Sidonia, the youngest, is looking down, innocent and modest. Her time will come soon.  

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