A portrait of a man dressed in armor fills the center of this tondo. Depicted in three-quarter view, his face is deeply lined, a sign of aging and experiences lived. He is identified by an inscription as Napoleone Orsini II, Lord of Bracciano and standard-bearer of the Catholic Church. The border is embellished with floral motifs, military trophies, the papal regalia of the crossed keys and papal crown, and the sitter's personal motto In hostes.
The portrait relates to a set of engravings that illustrates a manuscript entitled Elogii di cento e più personaggi illustri di casa Orsina (Archivio Storico Capitolano, Rome). Recounting the history of the Orsini family up to ca. 1460–70, the text and the accompanying prints were created by a little-known artist of German origin called Giovanni Campagna. It has been suggested that the Getty drawing was made as a presentation sheet to secure a patron's support which would have allowed Campagna to bring the manuscript current.
The drawing has a fascinating provenance. Along with sixteen other portraits of members of the Orsini family, it once belonged the seventeenth-century patron and scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo's Paper Museum. Cassiano's collection, which consisted of over 7,000 drawings and prints, functioned as a visual encyclopedia by bringing together a breadth of knowledge.