- Inventory number
- Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
- Federico II Gonzaga, I Duke of Mantua
- 125 cm x 99 cm
- On display
- Colección I Marqués de Leganés, 1642; Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, galería del mediodía, 1700, nº 60; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 21; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara del señor infante don Luis, 1772, nº 21; Museo del Prado, 1821).
A portrait of Federico II Gonzaga (1500-1540), duke of Mantua, wearing a blue jerkin adorned with a rosary and holding a sword in his left hand. He is accompanied by a Maltese dog.
Federico was a patron of some of the greatest Italian artists of the sixteenth century, including Giulio Romano, Correggio and Titian, who painted several portraits of him. The present one is part of a strategy thought up by the Duke in 1529 in order to find a wife. This type of dog, which appears more frequently in female portraits, alludes to conjugal faithfulness and the rosary is an attempt to redeem his dissolute past.
The portrait passed from the Ducal collection of Mantua to Charles I of England. When he died, it was acquired by the Marquis of Leganés and is listed in his inventories of 1642 and 1655. His heirs gave it to Felipe IV (1605-1665). Its first mention in Spain is in the 1666 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace. It entered the Prado Museum in 1821.