- Reference number
- Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
- The Empress Isabel of Portugal
- 117 cm x 98 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Palace, Madrid, “secretaría de Estado”, 1814-1818, s.n.)
This posthumous portrait of Empress Isabel (1503-1539), the wife of Carlos V (1500-1558), was painted by Titian in Augsburg. It was commissioned by the Emperor when Isabel died and is based on an earlier portrait —by an unknown painter— that was destroyed by a fire at the El Pardo Palace in 1604.
The composition consists of a half-length image of the Empress in front of an open window offering a view of landscape. It is a model that Titian had used before and is derived from types by Raphael.
Isabel's coldness, especially her gaze, may well be the result of an effort to show the Empress with the dignity her condition implies. It may also stem from an idealization of her appearance due to the lack of a living model.
This work appears in the inventories of Madrid's Alcázar Palace from 1636, 1666, 1686 and 1700. It entered the Prado Museum collection in 1821.