The Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession
The second section of the exhibition looks at Philip II’s new use of the armed portrait with respect to its earlier manifestations. The king either favoured the classical image alla romana with its heroic connotations, or the use of court dress, except in compositions relating to the Battle of Lepanto. These concepts are illustrated through objects such as the Parade Armour of Philip II, a suit of ceremonial armour that is exhibited next to Leone Leoni’s sculpture, and the Helmet of Ali Baja, a trophy from the Battle of Lepanto, shown alongside Titian’s painting that commemorates that victory.
Royal armour was not commissioned for much of Philip II’s reign, but there was a revival of this art form arising from the uncertainty surrounding Philip III’s survival as the last possible heir in the dynastic succession. This revival saw the creation of a series of portraits in armour associated with Philip taking the oath as Prince of Asturias, for example, the portraits by Pantoja de la Cruz and Justus Tiel, which are displayed next to child armour made by Lucio Marliani and Pompeo della Cessa.
The tradition was continued during the reign of Philip IV in works such as the Portrait of Philip IV with two Servants by Gaspar de Crayer, in which the monarch is depicted in the ceremonial armour sent to him in 1626 by Isabel Clara Eugenia.