This boldly painted bust-length portrait has none of the attributes that might identify it as particular figure, be it a philosopher, an apostle or an evangelist. Neither is it one of the various genre figures - the charlatans, beggars and bravos - who so often provided subject matter for the Caravaggesque artists working in Rome in the second and third decades of the seventeenth century. Whatever its subject matter, and it may be simply a portrait or a study, this picture was surely painted in Rome around 1620. The direct gaze, the rapidly painted hair and the smoothly modeled face suggest an artist, perhaps a Frenchman, working in the circle of Bartolomeo Manfredi (1582-1622), whose interpretation of Caravaggio's style and subject matter inspired a number of northern painters, among them Simon Vouet, Nicolas Tournier and Nicolas Regnier. While no authority has yet definitively attributed this haunting painting, attributions to both Regnier and Tournier have been suggested. Moreover, though it is not painted in the obviously Manfredian manner of some of Tournier's works (such as the Man raising a glass, Galleria Estense, Modena), the heavy-lidded eyes, boldly articulated hand and abbreviated drapery are reminiscent of other paintings given to Tournier such as Tobit and his wife taking leave of Tobias (formerly Ramirez collection, Caracas) and David with the head of Goliath (Museum Narodwe, Warsaw).