A man is shown at prayer; he has tentatively been identified as a member of the Averoldi family on the basis of the picture's provenance from this important Brescian family.

The function of the picture remains unclear. It may be a memorial for a family burial chapel. The praying attitude suggests that this painting was part of a larger canvas or ensemble. It was perhaps a donor's portrait in an altarpiece, although the direction of the eyes - looking towards the spectator - would be unusual in this context.

A copy showing a composition including a table and a crucifix may record its original appearance, but the additions might be those of the copyist.


  • Title: Praying Man with a Long Beard
  • Creator: Moretto da Brescia
  • Date Created: about 1545
  • Physical Dimensions: 103.7 x 89.4 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • School: Italian (Brescian)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG3095
  • Artist Dates: about 1498 - 1554
  • Artist Biography: Alessandro Bonvicino (called Moretto) was, with Romanino, the leading painter of Brescia in the early 16th century, when the town became part of the Venetian empire. Moretto's work was strongly influenced by Giorgione and Titian, and he may have trained in Titian's studio, though he retained much of the naturalism associated with painting in Lombardy in the 16th century. The majority of Moretto's paintings are large-scale canvases painted for religious foundations in and around Brescia. Portraits by him are rarer, though he excelled in portraiture, passing on his skills to his most famous pupil, Moroni.
  • Acquisition Credit: Layard Bequest, 1916

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