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The Meaning Behind The Use Of Armor In Portraiture

Around 1555 the Duke of Alba commissioned three life-sized bronze busts by the great Italian Renaissance portraitist Leone Leoni: one of himself and the other two of the Hapsburg emperor Charles V and the emperor's son, Philip II of Spain. Though the busts depict sitters of different rank - an emperor, a king, and a duke - Leoni presents them almost identically, as armored warriors in the cause of the Counter Reformation.