Cardinal Pietro Sforza Pallavicini is known for his theological and literary works, particularly his refutation of Paolo Sarpi’s History of the Council of Trent. Sarpi’s account of the Council (1545–1563) convened to address the claims of Protestantism was held to be hostile, and Pallavicini was directed by the Pope himself to write a refutation. Pallavicini resigned his professorship of theology at the Collegium Romanum in 1651 to devote himself to the writing of this work. The first editions of his History of the Council of Trent were published in two volumes in 1656 and 1657, and a new edition in three volumes was brought out in 1664. Pallavicini’s reputation would have been well established by the time this portrait was painted in 1663.
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