Trained by Greuze (1725-1805) and Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (1704-1788), Ducreux became the official portrait painter to Queen Marie-Antoinette, for whom he worked in Vienna and later in Paris.
This pastel can be associated with another of a Benedictine monk by Ducreux (fig.1). Of similar size, the latter was exhibited at the Salon of 1791 and is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Chartres (inv. no. 2261) (see J.-F. Heim et al., Les Salons de Peinture de la Révolution française 1789-1799, Paris, 1989, p. 190).