The subject, Daniel Brendel of Homberg, archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire for Germany, was prince elector and archbishop of Mainz and primate of the Roman Catholic Church of the countries north of the alpine mountains from 1555 to 1582. The inscription mentions that he was forty-six years old when this portrait was made and serves as a reminder of a faithful life by citing an abbreviated version of the Latin Bible: "In omnibus operibus tuis memorare novissima tua, et in aeternum non peccabis" (In all thy works be mindful of thy last end and thou wilt never sin; Eccles. 7:40). The disposition of the relief reflects a large-scale wall epitaph or memorial en miniature. The object may have been a trial piece to test the artist's talents and to serve as a model for a later tomb project. The archbishop likely kept this unusually designed miniature portrait in his personal Kunstkammer in the Martinsburg in Mainz on the Rhine, which may be identified as the building in the distance at right.
Signature: In lower part of relief: [monogram] H•K•V•B 1568
Inscription: MEMORARE NOVISSIMA ET IN ÆTERNV(m) NON PECCABIS (Motto, on architrave; abbreviated from Eccles. vii:40: "In all they works be mindful of thy last end and thou wilt never sin");
DANIEL.ARCHIEP(iscopu)S.MOGUNT(iensis).SA(cri).RO(mani).IM(perii). / PER.GERMA(niam).ARCHICAN(cellarius).ET.PRINCEPS.ELECTOR. / ANNO ÆTATIS XLVI (Archbishop's names and titles on base; Trans: "Daniel, Archbishop of Mainz, Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire for Germany and Prince-Elector./In the 46th year of his age.")
Frédéric Spitzer , Paris (by 1890) ; Baron Albert von Oppenheim , Cologne (by 1904–6; to Morgan) ; J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (1906–17; to MMA)