(b. 1395, Pisa, d. 1455, Roma)

Alfonso of Aragon

Pen and brown ink, 291 x 198 mm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Alfonso V (1396—1458), was the king of Aragon (1416–58) and king of Naples (as Alfonso I, 1442–58), whose military campaigns in Italy and elsewhere in the central Mediterranean made him one of the most famous men of his day. After conquering Naples, he transferred his court there. His byname was Alfonso the Magnanimous. He was a key player in Italian politics of the fifteenth century.

Alfonso had lured to Naples outstanding humanists, and he was eager to secure the services of the most celebrated artist of the day: Pisanello, who had portrayed virtually every significant ruler and military commander in the Italian peninsula. Pisanello moved to Naples in 1448 to begin work on the portrait medal of the king, the largest and most complex medal he has yet designed. The unusually highly finished drawing shown here is not a preparatory study for the medal, it differs significantly from it. The ostensible purpose of the was to present the king with the components Pisanello had been urged to include, probably after consulting with one or more of Alfonso's humanist advisers.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.