Pope Paul III with his Nephews Alessandro and Ottavio Farnese

Oil on canvas, 200 x 127 cm
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples

According to Vasari this painting was commissioned by the Farnese family in 1546. Titian arrived to Rome in 1545 and he met there several cardinals and artists and he was even received by Pope Paul III.

Titian shows the old, stooped pope grasping the armrest with his left hand, and he gives the pontiff a wily expression quite at odds with the conventions of state portraiture. The free movement of the models - quite unusual in contemporary portrait paintings - contributes to the extraordinary qualities of this group portrait.