To stave off an invasion by the French troops under Charles VIII, the major powers of Europe united to form a Holy League and confronted the French army near Fornovo in 1495 while it was retreating. The battle was not won by either side but both claimed victory. Francesco II Gonzaga, as commander of the League, had shown outstanding courage. He is shown on the left of the picture giving orders to his troops. A banner with his heraldic device, the sun, pictured behind his head, gives the impression of a halo.