LEONI, Leone
(b. 1509, Menaggio, d. 1590, Milano)

Bust of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

c. 1555
Bronze, height 112 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Leoni had a special interest in Roman busts of the type which is cut off at the waist, and is raised on an allegorical base with small figures. From these busts he evolved the half-length portrait of Charles V.

Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) is shown here in the armor which he wore in the victorious Battle of Mühlberg in 1547. The armor is now located in the Royal Armoury, Madrid. The figures at the base are allegories of the wise, victorious emperor (eagle, Minerva, Mars or perhaps Hercules) and in their form are derived from classical busts of Roman emperors. This bust was originally made for Cardinal Granvella, the emperor's secretary of state and a notable art collector. After his death, it was purchased from his estate by Emperor Rudolf II for his Art Chamber. He also selected it as the model for his own representative bust made by Adriaen de Vries in 1603.




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