The sitter was a Bolognese of noble family. The writing on the letter identifies the sitter as Bartolomeo Bianchini of Bologna ('Bononiae'), the city where Francia worked as a painter and goldsmith. Bianchini was a humanist scholar of noble family; he was esteemed by his contemporaries but left few writings (e.g. 'Vita di Codro', 1502). A patron and friend to the artist, he was alive born in 1471, helping us date the painting to the time when he was in his early twenties.