Emperor Charles V

LL 158


The Emperor Charles V was the ruler of Spain, Netherlands, Austria and parts of Germany and Italy and the most powerful monarch in early 16th-century Europe. He was also a notable patron of the arts. Here he is depicted wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece, a Roman Catholic order of chivalry founded in Bruges by the Burgundian duke, Philip the Good, in 1430. His armour is fitted with two rondels for protection. Rondels most commonly hang off breastplates and cover the armpit, which is a vulnerable point. They may have been used to steady a jousting lance. The sitter was identified by the busts attributed to the 16th-century Italian sculptors Giovan Angelo Montorsoli (about 1506 - 1563) and Baccio Bardinelli in the Prado, and by Leone Leoni's bust also in the Prado. New research sugests that this bust could be possibly attributed to Montorsoli.