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Medal - Charles V, Emperor of Germany

Charles V, Emperor of Germany

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Milan (made)

  • Date:

    middle of 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leoni, Leone (medallist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The depicted Charles V (1500-1558), became King of Spainin 1516 and Emperor of Germany in 1519. Philip II (1527-1598) became King of Spain in 1556.
The medal is made by Leone Leoni. Leoni (ca.1509-1590) was am Italian sculptor with international perspective. Upon others he was commissioned by the Habsburg monarch Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Spain's Philip II.
It is probable that Leone's formative years were spent with learning goldsmithing in Venice or Padua. After 1533 he is recorded with his wife and son in Venice and he later lived in Rome. In 1542 he moved to Milan, where his career as a coiner and medallist flourished. He went to Brussels to propose to Charles V to erect an equestrian portrait to the emperor in Milan. Charles V gave him a house in Milan and knighted him. After that he spent 7 years working on imperial commissions in Milan. The death of Charles V shifted his focus of patronage from Spain back to Italy, where Michelangelo recommended him to Pope Pius IV, who then commissioned him to erect a tomb for the Pope's brother Gian Giacomo de' Medici in the Milan Cathedral. Completed in 1563, this is one of his most important works.
He was also well known for his art collection, plastercasts, paintings and sculpture.

Physical description

Medal depicts on the obverse bust to right of Charles and Philip, both bearded and in armour. Charles is crowned with a laurel-wreath and wears a scarf, and the chain of the Golden Fleece. Inscription.
On the reverse within a border formed by the collar of the Golden Fleece, two pillars, standing in the sea, supporting the imperial crown. Inscription.

Place of Origin

Milan (made)


middle of 16th century (made)


Leoni, Leone (medallist)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'IMP . CAR . V . ET . PHI . PRINC . ISP'



Diameter: 4 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Charles V, Emperor of Germany, by Leone Leoni, Italy (Milan), middle of 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 44



Subjects depicted

Golden Fleece; Crown; Pillars; Sea


Coins & Medals; Portraits; Sculpture; Royalty


Sculpture Collection

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