Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Spanish, 1553–1608
Portrait of Charles V, 1608
oil on canvas
Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Renaissance armor was often patinated to retard rusting, and so appears black in Pantoja's portrait. The "Mühlberg Armor," however, may never have been patinated as it is described as "white" in old inventories. Possibly, Pantoja added the patina for aesthetic reasons so that the gilded decoration stood out against a dark background. In other respects, Pantoja recorded the armor with precision, even including the image of the Virgin and Child on the breastplate and the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece around Charles’ neck.