1545-1546. Oil on canvas. Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy. Read Note.
Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1520-1589) was the son of Pier Luigi Farnese, the illegitimate son of Pope Paul III. Though he was showered with ecclesiastical honors by his grandfather, he did not succeed in becoming pope when Paul died in 1549. Nonetheless, he continued to exert considerable influence on Roman politics until his death, and was in addition, a particularly important patron of the arts