A Knight of S. Stefano

The sitter wears the cross of the military order of S. Stefano, founded in Pisa in 1561 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de' Medici. The letters and inkstand on the table, and the books and statue above, allude to his status and learned interests.

Independent life-size and full-length portraits are very rare in Tuscan 16th-century art. The painting has been attributed to Alessandro Allori, successor to Bronzino as painter to the Medici Court, but is closer in style to Girolamo Macchietti 1535-1592, who painted the Charity of Saint Nicholas also in the National Gallery.

Key facts

Artist dates
1535 - 1592
Full title
A Knight of S. Stefano
Date made
after 1563
Medium and support
Oil on wood
209.5 x 121.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by G.F. Watts RA, 1861
Inventory number
Location in Gallery