Initially this painting was thought to represent King Louis IX, a saint traditionally associated with the city of Tunis, having died there in a crusade in 1270. It used to hang in the chapel of the old French consulate in Tunis. The chapel was tended by Capuchin Friars. On 31 August 1756, the Turkish troops attacked the city, besieging the French consulate. The friars escaped and found refuge in the British consulate nearby. When the Order withdrew from the country in 1891, they presented this painting to the British Consulate through the Rev. Bernard Prezziosi.
In 2014, scholar Michel Merle, disputed the identification of the sitter as Louis IX. He argued that the sitter’s costume does not bear any indication or symbol, such as the lily, usually associated with French monarchy that could point towards Louis IX. Instead, Merle suggested that the sitter represented the Blessed Amadeus IX, duke of Savoy between 1465 and 1475. His identification was notably based on the collar around the sitter’s neck, which belongs to the Order of the Annunciation and the Latin motto inscribed on the stone. Amadeus was a wise and able ruler, a friend of the poor (as his motto indicates), and a peacemaker. He meditated and attended Mass daily and received the Sacraments more frequently than was the common practice in his time. He showed great forbearance and forgiveness toward his adversaries. He was beatified in 1677. While the painting includes a partial version of his motto, the full version of the motto reads: 'Facite iudicium et iustitiam, diligite pauperes et Dominus dabit pacem in finibus vestris'. ('Do justice, do trials, love the poor and the Lord will give you peace forever'). Furthermore, the basilica depicted in the background has been identified as that of Superga in Turin, for which Amadeus was the patron saint.
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