|Courtesy of www.Titian.org|
It was previously thought to be a portrait of the poet Ludovico Ariosto, but this is based on only one 16th-century engraving and is doubted by most modern critics. Art historian Antonio
Mazzotta claims it portrays a man from the Barbarigo family described precisely by Vasari. This view has been met with some resistance.
Charles Hope, reviewing an exhibition including the piece in the National Gallery in the London Review of Books concluded that claims on early Titian are still too speculative, asking "Why not admit that we still don't know very much about Venetian painting in the first decade of the 16th century, instead of pretending to a knowledge that we do not possess?"