Rare portrait of Christopher Columbus as a young man.
The origin of this image is very curious. As noted in the 1893 exhibition Catalog "The Discoverer of the New World as represented in portraits, monuments, statues, medals and paintings," (Columbus Gallery):
About the end of the 18th century, the Duke of Veragua found among the collection of pictures belonging to the family, a beautiful painting of a man seated on a sort of a throne, attired as a grandee of Spain, bearing the inscription of D. Cristobal Colon. Believing it to be the picture of the great Admiral, he at once instructed the celebrated engraver Vasquez to make a copper-plate of it, stating that the original was in the gallery of the family.
As the Vasquez engraving was a magnificent work of art and the engraver had the high authority of a descendant of Columbus as to its authenticity, no doubt was entertained as to the correctness of the claim. Muñoz accepted the picture as did Cladera, and when the high-relief was ordered for the Cathedral at Havana, this engraving was the original from which it was taken, no attention being paid to the anachronisms in the dress and the type of the picture, which cannot possibly be a portrait of Columbus if we consult the pen portraits of him left by his contemporaries.
This engraving bas been widely copied: the more especially because it had been accepted by such eminent authorities as Muñoz and Cladera. The beautiful original of this engraving was never intended as a portrait of the Admiral, but of his grandson, Cristobal Colon y Toledo, brother of the third Admiral of the Indies, D. Luis, the son of D. Diego, son of the Discoverer. The age, type, and accessories of the picture […], which is still in the Veragua gallery, agree exactly with the appearance of the person whom it is now known to represent.
Fine three quarter-length portrait of Columbus, in which he is represented as a young man clad in armor with a ruff around the neck. He wears a mustache and goatee and holds a globe in his right hand and in the left a baton of command.