Born in Rome, Francesco Panini was the son of the celebrated artist Giovanni Paolo Panini. Along with the french artist Hubert Robert (1733-1808) he trained in his father's studio where he studied perspective and architectural painting. He is best known for his views of Rome, many of which were purchased by English aristocrats during the Grand Tour. This drawing is probably related to Francesco's series of views of the Vatican of which 15, including another of the Cortile del Belvedere, are in the Louvre (inv. 6691-6706).