Although Marinali was perhaps best-known for his grotesque busts, he was also celebrated for his religious figures and busts of young men and women. His distintive emotionalism and sense of nervous movement seem to have informed the present bust. The softly carved windswept curls of the young man can be compared to the hair and beard of Marinali's Bravo: An Old Man in the Fondazione Scientifica Querini Stampalia (Glory of Venice, illustrated p. 87). The treatment of the young man's blank eyes, with their deeply cut upper lids and clearly defined rounded tear duct is typical of Marinali's style, and can be compared to the eyes of a female bust in the Villa Pisani (Semenzato, fig.56). The treatment of the long falling tears can be closely compared to the tears on the face of Marinali's Heraclitis in the Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice.
Marinali was the best-known of a family of sculptors and one of the most original artists of his generation in the Veneto. He had a large workshop and a prolific oeuvre which encompassed the religious and the secular. His distinctive personal style had a deep impact on his circle, to which the sculptor of the present bust appears to have belonged. The subject of the bust can most probably be identified as St John the Evangelist, in tears at the foot of the cross.
Glory of Venice, pp. 86-87, illus. 16 & 17; Semenzato, pp. 6-100, figs. 56-70