NGV National Gallery of Victoria

Isabella I of Castile

Juan de Flandes
Dutch c.1465–1519
Portrait of Isabella I (1451-1504) 'The Catholic', Queen of Castile c.1490–92
oil on panel
21.0 x 13.3 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (P07656)

Lived: 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504

Reigned: 11 December 1474 – 26 November 1504

Married to Ferdinand II.

Isabella and her cousin Ferdinand II were married in 1469 thus uniting the two houses of Aragon and Castile. To protect their kingdom from French aggression their three daughters were strategically wed to key European rulers: the eldest Isabella (147098) became Queen of Portugal; the second, Joanna of Castile, married Philip the Fair, Duke of Burgundy (future rulers of Spain); and the youngest daughter, Catherine of Aragon, became the first wife of Henry VIII, King of England. Isabella had a refined taste in sculpture, painting and the decorative arts, owning many magnificent religious works by Flemish and Italian artists such as Hans Memling, Sandro Botticelli and Pietro Perugino, the master of Raphael. Isabella and Ferdinand founded various civic and religious institutions such as hospitals and convents that were richly decorated with frescoes, elaborate sculptural ensembles and surface ornamentation. The Capilla Real (Royal Chapel of Granada) of Ferdinand II and Isabella I is one of the most important historic and artistic buildings in Spain. It introduced the Renaissance style to a Spanish audience.