Alessandro peers towards us with an air of confidence. His standing pose and turning shoulders convey a dynamic presence. He dons a Cardinal’s red hat and habit, holding elegant gloves in his left hand. The dark background highlights the figure, accentuating Titian’s ability to capture Alessandro’s character with subtlety.
Alessandro was the eldest son of Pier Luigi Farnese, whose portrait is also present in the Capodimonte’s collection. He was elected as a Cardinal in 1534 at the young age of 14 upon the influence of his grandfather, Pope Paul III Farnese. This portrait documents the Cardinal at the age of 25 or 26. Alessandro is noted for his great diplomatic capacity and patronage of the arts. He was the true heir and interpreter of Paul III’s politics, consolidating the economic and political might of the Farnese.