Iconography

The person portrayed is the Roman emperor Domitian. He was the last emperor of the Flavian dynasty and reigned from 81 to 96 CE. A collar chain with a head, possibly depicting the Roman sun god Sol, appears in the direct centre of the painting and on each side of the head there is a Sol symbol or a Mycenaean rosette. The collar chain with the symbols does not appear in Sadeler’s engraving or in any of the other versions of Domitian.

Detail of collar chain.

Compare the ”Sol” symbols with Leonardo’s drawing in the Codex Atlanticus below.

F. 272 verso. Photo: The Ambrosiana, Milan.

Roman emperor Domitian, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Tizian, Tiziano Vecellio, Roman emperors, Eleven Caesars, Undici Cesari, Domitianus, Isabella d’Este, Federico II Gonzaga, Mantova, Mantua, Italy, Francis I, Amboise France, Charles I England.