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Described by Vasari (Titian's biographer) in 1567 as among the artist's later portraits, the sitter of this painting lost his identity for a while until his likeness was recently matched with an inscribed sculptured bust (now in the Museum of Bassano del Grappa). Nicolò Zen was a Savio di terraferma and a Knight (either of which would account for the colour of his robe), a member of the Council of Ten and served as ambassador to Charles V in 1545. He was also an author and a friend of the publisher Francesco Marcolini, and of Titian's patrons Pietro Aretino and Daniele Barbaro.
oil on canvas
H 125.5 x W 97 cm
bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981