A Knight with his Jousting Helmet

The portrait is an early work by Moroni, probably of the later 1550s, and from the Avogadro collection in Brescia. The soldier represented is probably one of the sons of Gerolamo Avogadro, the likely sitter in Moretto's full-length portrait of 1526, which is in the National Gallery Collection ('Portrait of Man').

As in other early Moroni portraits the ruined setting may be intended to highlight the endurance of the virtues which the sitter represents.

Moroni makes little outward attempt to idealise his subject, who is shown as a relatively frail figure against a background of crumbling architecture and with armour laid out at his feet. A helmet decorated with festive plumes is given prominence on the ledge to the right.

A brace on the soldier's left leg, the 'piede ferito' (wounded foot) that gives the painting its popular title, may indicate a wound sustained in a battle or a joust, or a congenital deformity.

Key facts

Artist dates
1520/4 - 1579
Full title
A Knight with his Jousting Helmet ('Il Cavaliere dal Piede Ferito', Conte Faustino Avogadro (?) )
Date made
about 1554-8
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
202.3 x 106.5 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1876
Inventory number
Location in Gallery