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A Man holding a Coloured Medal

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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The sitter, wearing a lynx-lined coat, holds up a medal showing a bearded man dressed as a cardinal; the Latin inscription identifies him as Mercurio Arbono di Gattinara, Grand Chancellor to Emperor Charles V. The sitter is probably Alfonso de Valdés, one of Gattinara’s closest associates. Judging from the costume, the portrait was perhaps painted shortly after Gattinara’s death in 1530. Alfonso was in the Low Countries in 1531; in October of that year he wrote to a friend and mentioned a portrait left unfinished in the Netherlands, of which copies were being made (he didn't name the artist of the original or the copy). Although the painting has been trimmed and is damaged and discoloured by retouching, stylistically it can be attributed to the principal associate of Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen, painter and tapestry designer to the Habsburgs.

The National Gallery, London



A Man holding a Coloured Medal


about 1545-50


Oil on oak


H 41.9 x W 33.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Salting Bequest, 1910

Work type



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The National Gallery, London

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