Portrait of Saladin (Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb)
Italy (c. 1490s)
oil on wood
From the Giovio series commissioned by Cosimo di’ Medici (his commissioned copies of Giovio’s collection survive at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence).
Saladin was a Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria. He led Islamic opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, he ruled over Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, and Yemen. He led the Muslims against the Crusaders and eventually recaptured Palestine from the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem after his victory in the Battle of Hattin.