It has previously been thought that this portrait may represent one of the elder sons of Duke Cosimo de' Medici, Bronzino's principal patron. Scholars have also suggested he may be the sculptor Pierino da Vinci or the painter Francesco Salviati. However, each of these theories is in some way problematic, and the young man's identity currently remains a mystery. A clue may lie in the sculpture of the god Bacchus which is revealed behind the pink curtain. In other portraits by Bronzino the accessories and costumes of the sitters are often relevant to their identitites.
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