A portrait of a Cardinal that has been identified as either Alidosi, Bibbiena, Cybo or Trivulzio.
This work was painted in Rome at a time when Rafael was at the height of his capacity to paint people as more real than they really are, as his peers put it.
The composition is derived from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. In both works, the model appears seated, forming a triangle with his or her body and arm. Especially surprising here are the chromatic contrasts between the brilliant red of his hat, the whiteness of his sleeve, and his face, thanks to the use of highlights. This characteristic and the meticulous brushstrokes give the sitter a three-dimensional character that reveals Rapahel’s interest in sculpture during those years.
This work was acquired by Carlos IV (1748-1819) in Rome while he was still a prince.