Fra Gregorio, a member of the order of the Hieronymites, or Poor Hermits of Saint Jerome, sat for the artist—as noted in his account book—in December 1546 and the painting was completed the following year. Lotto knew members of this order in Venice and in neighboring Treviso, and was probably in harmony with their evangelical fervor and ideals. The friar is in the habit of the order and his gesture, beating his chest, alludes to Saint Jerome. He reads the Homilies of Saint Gregory the Great, probably in the edition published in Venice in 1543. These would have led him to meditate on the Crucifixion, shown in the background in a vignette of deeply-felt emotion. For more information on the meaning of this painting, visit metmuseum.org.