Lombard painting in the wake of Caravaggio was characterized by an observant and naturalistic approach to figure painting, particularly a fondness for low-life and genre subjects. The term 'genre' often carries a pejorative association, yet the Lombard artists did not present their subjects as objects of derision, rather investing them with a dignity and gravity that belied their unassuming appearances. The young artist in the present painting is simply dressed in a brown coat and crooked cap, a folder with wrinkled sheets of paper and assorted drawings on his lap. His surroundings are unremarkable, but with a model of a classical sculpture propped on a shelf and the beginnings of a painting on an easel behind him, the overall tone of the composition is a respectful one. The subject of a young artist was treated on several occasions by Giuseppe Ghislandi, called Fra'Galgario (1655-1743), such as in his Portrait of a Young Painter (Accademia Carrara, Bergamo), which likewise represents a young draftsman at rest from his studies, simply dressed and sensitively portrayed. Giacomo Ceruti, the Milanese painter known as 'Il Pitocchetto' (the little beggar) was particularly known for his sympathetic portrayals of the more humble members of society. The artist of the present work was evidently active in this orbit.