Our taste in Old Masters often tells us more about ourselves than fashions in contemporary art. El Greco was ignored until his exaggerations suddenly chimed with modernism in the 1900s. Caravaggio emerged from obscurity only when his streetwise dramas and androgynous sensibility echoed democratic, sexualised postwar culture. And now Lucas Cranach, little known beyond Germany even a few years ago, is becoming the Old Master for the early 21st century. Why? Cranach’s first UK shows took place in 2007 at the Courtauld Institute, and in 2008 at the Royal Academy – its posters advertising his slinky nudes were nearly banned from London Underground. This autumn brings further major exhibitions: Lucas Cranach, the Other Renaissance at Rome’s Galleria Borghese is the first ever display of the artist in Italy; The World of Lucas Cranach, at Brussels’ BOZAR, then travelling to Paris, is his first retrospective in France or any Benelux country.

more from Jackie Wullschlager at the FT here.