The man in this portrait has not been identified. The tunic is the kind worn beneath armour and he rests his hand against a helmet and on a broken column.The column shaft may symbolise the sitter's fortitude or, since it is broken, his misfortunes; but slightly ruinous marble settings were common in Moroni's portraiture.

For much of the 19th century this portrait was attributed to Titian. The style of tunic allows the approximate dating for the work.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1520/4 - 1579
Full title
Portrait of a Gentleman with his Helmet on a Column Shaft
Date made
about 1555-6
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
186.2 x 99.9 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1890
Inventory number
NG1316
Location in Gallery