Portrait of Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals

Andrea del Sarto1523

Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

Pope Leo X is seated in a three-quarter profile as he glances to our left. He is flanked by two relatives, Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici to our left and Cardinal Luigi de’ Rossi to our right. Leo X holds a magnifying glass in proximity to the illuminated bible and bell on the table. The pommel atop the Pope’s chair evokes the balls of the Medici coat of arms.

Andrea del Sarto copied this painting from Raphael’s original (1518-19) upon the commission of Ottaviano de’ Medici. Upon the request of the Pope Clement VII (featured as Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici in the painting), Ottaviano was asked to send the portrait to Duke Federico Gonzaga in Mantua. Not wanting to depart with Raphael’s original, Ottaviano sent Andrea del Sarto’s copy instead without detection. The details of this event are recorded in Giorgio Vasari’s famous Lives of the Artists (published 1550, 1568).


  • Title: Portrait of Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals
  • Creator: Andrea del Sarto
  • Date Created: 1523
  • Medium: oil on pannel

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