Portrait of Philip the Handsome
Philip the Handsome (1478-1506), son of Maximilian of Austria and father of Charles V, ruler of the Netherlands and king of Castile, left his mark on history as much for his good looks as for his political qualities. Since the 1930s, this portrait has been attributed to the Master of the Legend of Saint Magdalene, a name given to a group of artists active in Brussels at the end of the 15th century.
Philip the Handsome was reputed to be "very skilful in his person and especially in handling weapons, a good archer and harquebus marksman, and a good horseman. He was a great hunter at court, without disdaining falcon hunting. The young archduke is depicted with a bird of prey wearing a chaperone on his head, intended to keep him calm before the hunt. Like the collar of the Golden Fleece, an order of chivalry instituted by the Duke of Burgundy in 1430, the falcon is the sign of his membership in the elite of his time. In the Middle Ages, falcon hunting, a distinctive practice, both refined and expensive, was only practiced by the aristocracy.