Prints & Multiples / Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553); The Third Tournament (Tournament with the Lances);
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In 1504, the Duke of Saxony, Frederick the Wise appointed Lucas Cranach the Elder as his court painter. This woodcut is one from a series of three depicting the Feasts of All Saints, a festive joust organized by the Duke of Saxony as a form of athletic amusement for the court. This celebratory revival of the medieval tournament took place in November 1508 in Wittenberg, Germany. The knights' intersecting lances fill the dynamic, detailed scene as spectators gather in windows and huddle together on the grandstand. The elaborate ceremonial garb, including the horses' pictorial trappings and the billowing plumed helmets, showcases the complexity of the composition and Cranach's mastery of the details.