Portrait of Count Giambattista Serbelloni Sfondrati

Placido Fabris
1847, Oil on canvas

The noble identity of the depiction is confirmed by the aristocratic arms visible in the top left on the pillar, which combines the coats-of-arms of the Serbelloni and Sfondrati families (amongst the most illustrious in eighteenth-century Milan).  From a young age, Placido Fabris displayed an interest for painting and drawing. 

On enrolling in the Venice Academy of Fine arts, he won awards and was singled out for praise by the Academy in 1817, 1819 and 1822. Portraiture was the preferred art form of the painter, who also worked for prestigious customers such as the Tsar of Russia Nicholas I. His work also involved restoring antique paintings. Not many of his paintings remain because some were dispatched for a foreign exhibition, and were lost when the boat they were travelling on sank.