ORLEY, Bernaert van
(b. 1491/92, Bruxelles, d. 1542, Bruxelles)

Portrait of Charles V

Oil on wood, 71 x 52 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

The subject of this painting was the most famous ruler of the sixteenth century. The son of the Castilian King Philip of Burgundy and Mad Joanna, he ascended the Spanish throne in 1516. In 1519 he became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and for nearly forty years was the leading figure in European politics. The Habsburg lip is already visible in this youthful and somewhat idealized portrait. In his later years the Emperor was also painted several times by Titian, for whom he sat in Augsburg. Bernaert van Orley, the master of this portrait, was court painter to the two women regents, Margaret of Austria and her successor, Mary of Hungary. Orley made a portrait of him in 1515, too, but this painting is known only from copies.