Recognized as the work of Lorenzo Lotto in 1923 by Lucio Coletti, who saw it in the representative living room of the Treviso Counts Rovero palace, it was bought by the State in 1930 by Edoardo Rovero, the last descendant of the ancient Treviso family. Famous example of Lotto's portraiture in the years of his stay in Venice (1525-1533), generally dated to the extreme end of the 1920s, close to the 1527 Andrea Odoni of Hampton Court and the Portrait of a Gentlewoman in the guise of Lucrezia della National Gallery in London. It shares with the latter the horizontal format, decidedly unusual in the portraiture of the time, the ease in the supple pose and the naturalness with which it represents the protagonist, with the three-quarter cut of the figure, and the analytical taste in restoring the sartorial aspect of the clothes and material qualities of objects. These aspects that differentiate Lotto's portraiture from that of Titian, as well as the cold chromatism and the use of grazing light.
The young man, dressed in an elegant dark worked suit, is represented standing while he is leaning against a large table placed at an angle, in the act of leafing through a large book with a melancholy air. The volume could be a family book where the salient events were noted or, more likely, a book of accounts where income and debts, credit and debit are recorded in two columns. In both interpretations, however, it is a representative object of adult life and the concrete commitment of the young person portrayed in the management of family affairs. Consequently, the book appears as an antithesis to the idleness and pleasures of youth, symbolized at the bottom by the lute and the hunting horn. The elements in the foreground are still of clear symbolic value: the rose petals, the ring, the letters and the feminine shawl, all alluding to a love that is perhaps ended or hindered. Even the lizard, or green lizard, a symbol of death and rebirth in antiquity, can refer to the control of passions as a cold-blooded animal.