In 1704 the portrait, believed to be a work by Rubens, belonged to Grand Price Ferdinand. It came to the Uffizi with the attribution to Van Dyck in 1753.
In the past, this posthumous equestrian portrait was very famous. The rather mediocre state of conservation reveals a weakness in the painting, though this could be due to the lack of a live model and to the execution of the work during an early phase of artistic production. It was probably commissioned for a descendant of the emperor. Iconographically, it could be a free interpretation of various other works such as the copy by Rubens (Chatsworth, Devonshire collection) of the equestrian portrait of Charles V at the battle of Muhlberg by Titian (Madrid, Prado) engraved by Lucas Vorsterman.