Ippolito de' Medici was appointed Vice Chancellor of the Church on 3 July 1532. Monsignor Mario Bracci had been an official at Charles V's coronation in Bologna in 1530. The document depicted is a papal bull.
The work has in the past been attributed to Raphael, Titian and Sebastiano del Piombo. The painting looks as if it has been composed from two separate portraits.