This portrait was long thought to be the work of the Florentine master, Francesco di Cristofano, called Franciabigio, to whose romantic, half-length portraits of youths it bears some resemblance. In 1932, however, Borenius remarked how the details of style and treatment were very different from Franciabigio and that the inscription on the letter: Domio petro burla machio Lucha, which unambiguously gives the address of the sitter as Lucca, argued strongly in favour of a Lucchese authorship. Borenius felt that an autograph work by Lorenzo Zacchia, entitled the Concert (formerly with Drey, Munich) had enough stylistic similarities to this portrait to justify the present attribution (Borenius, op. cit., pp. 83-84). The attribution was, however, questioned by Pope-Hennessy.
The Burlamacchi were a famous Lucchese family, the best-known member of which was the noble patriot Francesco Burlamacchi (1498-1548), who organised an abortive rising against Cosimo I of Tuscany and is commemorated by a mid-nineteenth century statue in front of the church of San Michele in Lucca. From a genealogical study of the Burlamacchi family by Ernesto Masi (1860), Borenius surmised that the sitter of the present picture may indeed have been Francesco's brother, named after Francesco's grandfather, Pietro (Borenius, op. cit., p. 84).