Painted life-size, this knight in black stands out against a grey ground, in which only some architectural features can be distinguished. The very elegant dark garments which give the portrait its title are painted with extraordinary fineness, particularly in the folds of the drapery and in the delicate passages of light and shade, which animate its surface. His eyes are turned towards the viewer, while the hands, which clasps the sword hilt and one edge of the short mantle, stand out clearly against the black material.
The painting belongs to the series of the finest full-length portraits painted by Giovanni Battista Moroni. It can be dated to about 1567, the last period of the artist’s career, in which the pictorial composition, based on tones of black and grey, was progressively simplified and his probing of reality became more penetrating and acute.