Arts & Culture

The Protonotary Giovanni Giuliano (Zuan Zulian)

Italian, Northabout 1530-40

The National Gallery, London
The National Gallery, London

Inscribed on the two letters in front of the sitter: 'Al Rdo monsig Juliano proton . . . aptico/ dgmo S. . . ./ a Padua/ al borgo dogni santj' ('To the most reverend Monsignor Giuliano, Apostolic Notary, most noble [Lord, who one addresses] at Padua, at the town of Ogni Santi').

The sitter identified in the inscription is Giovanni Giuliano. There are records of his activity in Venice between 1504–18. His features can be compared with a medal at Brescia (Museo, Civico). There were 12 'Protonotaries Apostolic', consisting of senior prelates who registered papal legislation and directed the process of the canonisation of saints.

This work may have been painted in Padua or possibly in Bergamo in about 1530–40.

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