Lucas Cranach the elder portrayed Venus, taking as a basis the ideal of female beauty that was popular in the Renaissance. A thin, even anemic figure, pale to bluish light skin, large bulging eyes, some haggard angularity in the figure, a high forehead, thin arms and legs, long thin fingers - these are the details of the body that the ladies of the Middle Ages tried to emphasize in themselves.
They deliberately pulled hair very tight on the back of the head so that the eyes were slightly bulging, shaving their foreheads so that they seemed very high. Women carefully avoided being exposed to the sun so that their skin was pale.
And Venus Cranach - the angular figure of a teenager, pale skin, thin long arms, which emphasizes the transparent, weightless scarf that she holds in her hands.
Hair tightly tied at the back of the head, tucked under a richly decorated mesh. There is a precious necklace around the neck, a stylized cross on the chain. The transparent veil in her hands does not cover anything, therefore, probably, the girl holds the veil even shyly, although her look suggests otherwise: her look is very flirty, as if seducing the viewer.
In the time of Cranach Sr., artists very rarely painted nudity. The nude female figure was usually depicted only in mythological or narrative scenes. Cranach wrote nudes in a somewhat primitive style, rejecting the classical canons and the spirit of the time. This is not surprising, because Cranach was a Protestant, talked with Martin Luther, and welcomed reformism.
Once, the elder Cranach was struck by the beauty of Princess Sibylla, whom he, on behalf of Johann the Solid, married for his son Johann Frederick. Since then, all the female characters in his paintings were similar to Sybil. Here is Venus: a cheeky face, narrow, slanting, slightly narrow eyes, a small sharp chin, a sickly sweet smile. These facial features are very reminiscent of the face of a princess.
The style of Cranach in the spirit of the Northern Renaissance is as if opposed to the magnificent women of the Italian, southern Renaissance. Kranakhovska Venus is a long-legged, thin, angular-teenage type. The undeveloped girl’s breasts and anemic figure became for a long time the standard of female beauty of the “Kranakhovsky type”.
Painting Shishkin Forest