Pope Paul III Farnese went down in history as one of the inspirers and organizers of the Catholic reaction. With his blessing in the 40s of the 16th century, the index of banned books was published, the activities of the Inquisition were renewed, the Jesuit order was founded, the Trident Church Council was convened, which worked out a program for the eradication of the Renaissance free-thinking.
The portrait was painted in Bologna, where Paul III arrived for talks with the Emperor Charles V. Mentioned in the letter of Aretino Titian on July 10, 1543, as already finished. From the same letter it follows that Titian again abandoned his post at the papal court.
Together with other works performed for Paul III and his relatives, the portrait was in the possession of the Farnese family until the second half of the XVIII century, when the collection of Farnese was inherited by the Neapolitan King Charles III from his mother, the last of this kind