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A Young Man with the 'Aeneid' (Alberto III Pio?)
Possibly by Bernardino Loschi
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The sitter’s doublet is inscribed on the neckline: ALBERTVS. PIVS CARP [...] + MDXII (‘Alberto Pio from Carpi 1512’). Alberto Pio was recognised as the legitimate ruler of Carpi, near the Italian town of Modena, in 1512 – but by then he was 37, older than he appears here. The knotted decorations on his clothing have a heraldic character and are associated with the Savoia family, with which the Pio family were connected.

The lines in the open book are a famous passage of Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid: the dead Anchises explains the transmigration of souls – in which a soul passes from one body to another after death – to his son, Aeneas, who has visited him in the underworld. The scene in the background showing the twin peaks of the sacred mountain Parnassus is probably related to the text, although it is not clear how.

Alberto Pio was ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian. The coat in the painting may be an ambassadorial gown, perhaps one of German style.

Key facts
Artist Possibly by Bernardino Loschi
Artist dates about 1460 - 1540
Full title A Young Man with the 'Aeneid' (Alberto III Pio?)
Date made 1512
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 58.4 x 49.5 cm
Acquisition credit Mond Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG3940
Location in Gallery Not on display
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