Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Giannettino Doria guided by his father the Admiral Andrea Dorial in the guise of Neptune

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    1541-1542 (made)
    first half of 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leoni, Leone (artist)
    Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Plaquettes are small plaques or reliefs made of bronze, brass, lead or precious metals. They originated in the 1440ies with the desire to reproduce coins and hardstone engravings from ancient Greece and Rome. Some were made as collector's pieces, to be viewed and displayed in private, and others for practical purposes. They also inspired designs in other media, from architecture to book-bindings. Plaquettes had a role in disseminating classical imagery and designs throughout Europe, in the same manner as the contemporary print. The subject matter was often a miniature composition, only rarely a single isolated figure.

This plaquette is made by Leone Leoni (ca.1509-1590), who 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

The admiral in antique dress, holding a trident, seated in a chariot drawn over a stormy sea by sea-horses and fantastical dolphins. Among the waves are tritons and nereids. In the background Neptune, naked, in a chariot, brandishing a trident. Behind him a rainbow. In the sky a flock of birds and an inscription.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


1541-1542 (made)
first half of 16th century (made)


Leoni, Leone (artist)
Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions



Height: 8.8 cm, Width: 7.6 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, Giannettino Doria guided by his father the Admiral Andrea Dorial in the guise of Neptune, by Leone Leoni, Italy, 1541-1542

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. 78
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 72



Subjects depicted

Trident; Sea; Rainbow; Nereids; Sea horse; Chariots


Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes


Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.